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.
  • The ACNC monitors whether charities are meeting their obligations, and can act to enforce charity compliance.
  • The ACNC has 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 Person/s.
  • The ACNC has a large range of resources – including written guidance and information, as well as webinars, how-to videos and podcasts – to help charities fulfil their obligations.

ACNC compliance and regulatory approach

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.

To read the ACNC’s full Regulatory Approach Statement, visit our Regulating Charities page: www.acnc.gov.au/compliance.

ACNC compliance powers

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.

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

  • warnings
  • directions
  • enforceable undertakings
  • injunctions
  • suspension or removal of a Responsible Person
  • revocation of a charity's registration, which removed 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.

Concerns about charities

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 compliance test

The ACNC’s compliance test is a series of questions charities can use to assess how well they are meeting their obligations, and whether they are taking the right steps to comply with the ACNC Act.

The test includes questions on:

  • Charitable purpose
  • Reporting and notification obligations
  • Use of charitable income and assets
  • Record-keeping requirements
  • Compliance with ACNC Governance Standards.

Take the compliance test here: www.acnc.gov.au/compliancetest.

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