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Key points:

  • The ACNC’s regulatory approach places an emphasis on supporting charities to meet their obligations through advice, guidance and education. Understanding charities is at the centre of our approach.
  • We monitor whether charities are meeting their obligations, and can act to enforce charity compliance.
  • We have the power to warn charities, issue directions, conduct charity investigations, fine charities and revoke their registration. We can also suspend or remove a charity’s Responsible People.
  • The ACNC has a large range of resources – including written guidance and information, as well as webinars, podcasts and our online learning program, to help charities fulfil their obligations.

The ACNC’s Regulatory Approach Statement states clearly that understanding charities is at the centre of how we regulate the sector, and how we ensure charities comply with their obligations to us.

We recognise that the purpose of charities is to benefit the public, and that charities contribute to our society in vital ways. We focus on supporting charities to meet their obligations through advice, guidance and education.

For more information, see our guidance about regulating charities.

There are times when the ACNC will enforce charity compliance through other means. We have powers to gather information, and to monitor whether charities are meeting their obligations.

If charities don’t respond to the ACNC’s guidance, education and support efforts, we also have formal compliance powers to:

  • issue warnings
  • issue directions
  • issue enforceable undertakings
  • injunctions
  • suspend or remove a Responsible Person
  • revoke a charity's registration, which removes entitlement to Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

We may also enter into a compliance agreement with a charity, which is effectively an action plan to help a charity resolve unidentified issues.

The ACNC learns about charity concerns from several sources, including:

  • members of the public
  • referrals from other government agencies
  • charities’ regular reporting to us
  • our own enquiries.

The ACNC will act on concerns to ensure charities meet their obligations under the ACNC Act and ACNC Governance Standards.

The ACNC’s self-evaluation tool aims to help charities assess whether they are meeting their obligations. and to identify issues that may prevent them from doing so.

The self-evaluation poses questions and prompts you to describe the practical steps your charity is taking to meet its obligations, and to list the relevant policies and procedures it has.

The evaluation includes questions about your charity's:

  • charitable purpose
  • reporting and notification obligations
  • use of charitable income and assets
  • record-keeping requirements
  • compliance with ACNC Governance Standards.
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