The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) commenced yesterday as the specialist regulator for charities operating in Australia. The introduction of the ACNC will affect the way charities interact with other regulatory bodies, including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The ACNC and ASIC have been working together to ensure a smooth transition to the ACNC for charities that are registered with ASIC as companies or registered bodies.

As part of the transition to the new regulator, all charities endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to receive charity tax concessions have been automatically registered with the ACNC. Where a company or other body is identified as registered with ASIC, and is now registered with the ACNC, it will no longer need to pay ASIC annual review fees and it will no longer need to report certain information to ASIC.

Much of the corporate information that was previously reported to ASIC will now need to be reported to the ACNC instead, and from July 2013 there will be changes to governance and financial reporting obligations. The government is about to begin consultation on these matters.

ACNC Commissioner Designate, Susan Pascoe says moving to the specialist charity regulator is a positive step for charities and stressed the importance of understanding their reporting obligations during the transition.

“Change can be challenging but the ACNC is here for the good of charities. We are working closely with ASIC and we are committed to helping charities understand their obligations. For the 2012–13 year this will be a short Annual Information Statement.

“If you are not sure which regulator you need to report to, or what your obligations are, visit the ACNC website at www.acnc.gov.au or call us on 13 ACNC and we will try and help to resolve your query," Ms Pascoe said.

ASIC is responsible for regulating approximately 13 000 not-for-profits, approximately 6 000 of these are charities and will now start reporting to the ACNC.

The introduction of the ACNC and any related changes to reporting obligations do not affect companies or other bodies registered with ASIC that are not charities.

For more information, or to check whether or not an organisation is a charity registered with the ACNC, visit www.acnc.gov.au For questions about ongoing obligations to ASIC, visit asic.gov.au.