New resources relating to the bushfires

As the national regulator of charities in Australia, the ACNC has an important role in helping charities understand and meet their obligations through information, guidance and other support. In the aftermath of the recent bushfires, charities and communities are facing a range of specific challenges. We are developing tailored guidance and support for charities responding to the crisis.

We have recently published a series of three podcasts on bushfire donations. In episode one, I discussed the importance of donating safely to charities and not falling victim to scams. The second episode covers charities’ use of funds in disaster relief and public pressure to distribute donated money immediately. In the last episode of this podcast series, I talk about the importance of good governance processes to help charities manage a sudden influx of large donations.

We will also deliver a free webinar - Charities and the bushfire disaster response - on 12 March this year. This is aimed specifically at charities working on bushfire disaster relief. The focus will be on helping these charities face the challenges they may be experiencing related to receiving a sudden influx of donations and governance and administrative issues they may need to consider.

Transitional Reporting Arrangements Extension

Since the ACNC was established in 2012, we have been working with other Commonwealth, state and territory regulators to reduce red tape for charities.

We have reporting arrangements with regulators in most states and territories that allow charities to report only to the ACNC. But there is still work to be done.

Over the years, while working on establishing reporting arrangements with other regulators, we have accepted some financial reports from charities prepared for other government agencies even though the reports did not meet ACNC requirements. We have done this as a way of easing the reporting burden on charities in areas without an established reporting arrangement with the ACNC. We have called these ‘transitional reporting arrangements’.

I am pleased to announce that the transitional reporting arrangements have been extended for a further five years, up to the 2023-24 financial year. This will continue to provide charities with a reporting benefit while the ACNC works with regulators to establish more permanent arrangements. It means that a charity required to report to a regulator that does not have an arrangement with the ACNC can continue to submit the financial report prepared for that regulator as part of its ACNC reporting.

We will also continue accept financial questionnaires and statements lodged by non-government schools with the Commonwealth Department of Education, and annual returns lodged by Indigenous Corporations with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC).

Read more about the ACNC's transitional reporting arrangements.

Due date extension for bushfire affected charities

A reminder that bushfire affected charities have an extension to submit their 2019 Annual Information Statements by 28 May 2020. This due date will be reflected on the individual charity records on the Charity Register in due course.

A full list of postcodes that have been granted an automatic extension is published on our website. If your charity is in an area affected by bushfires and needs an extension but its postcode is not listed, email us at advice@acnc.gov.au.

Overdue 2019 Annual Information Statements

The 2019 Annual Information Statement is now overdue for approximately 7,900 charities that operate on a standard financial year (1 July to 30 June). If your charity is one of them, submit your Annual Information Statement as soon as possible to avoid receiving penalties.

Due date for charities operating on a calendar year

Charities that operate on a calendar year (1 Jan to 31 December) have until 30 June 2020 to submit their 2019 Annual Information Statement.

I strongly encourage these charities to submit their Annual Information Statement as soon as possible. By submitting early, you can avoid service delays should you need to call our advice line for help.

Submitting early also reduces the risk of your submission taking longer to complete due to potential IT system speed issues caused by a last-minute rush.

Submit your charity’s Annual Information Statement via the Charity Portal.

Webinars

This week, we held our first webinar for 2020: ‘How the ACNC investigates charities.’

We explained to charities - and the wider public -how we respond to public and the compliance actions we pursue. In case you missed it, you can view it and our previous webinars on our website at acnc.gov.au/webinars.

Upcoming webinars:

Charities and the bushfire disaster response
12 March 2020

Your charity health check
25 March 2020

Advanced financial reporting for charities
22 April 2020

Find out more and register your attendance on our website.

Best wishes,
The Hon Dr Gary Johns