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Key points:

  • There are areas of charity regulation and practice that the ACNC does not have jurisdiction over, with other regulators bearing ultimate responsibility.
  • Areas such as fundraising, as well as elements of taxation, company law and regulations covering incorporated associations, do not fall under ACNC jurisdiction.
  • Certain types of charities may also have obligations to other bodies or regulators.
  • For some charities, their obligations to the ACNC replace their obligations to other government regulators. However, other charities will continue to have obligations to other Commonwealth, state, territory or local government agencies.
  • Your charity must know which other regulators it has obligations to, and must comply with these obligations.
  • The ACNC continues to work with state and territory regulators to reduce red tape, with fundraising being one key area targeted.

A company limited by guarantee is a specific type of legal structure that charities may choose to operate under. Charities operating under this structure are registered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

After your organisation is registered as a company limited by guarantee with ASIC, you may apply to the ACNC to register as a charity. Once you are registered with the ACNC, most (but not all) of the organisation's ongoing obligations are to the ACNC rather than ASIC.

See our guidance about about companies limited by guarantee that are also registered charities with the ACNC for more information about the ongoing obligations. For information about registering a company, visit the ASIC website.

Many charities choose to register as an incorporated association. Charities registered under this structure are regulated by state and territory governments.

Again, incorporated associations may have obligations to state or territory government regulators, such as providing annual reports or keeping financial records. Charities must still meet these obligations.

Some charities are incorporated as co-operatives. A co-operative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members.

These charities are regulated by state and territory governments.

Fundraising is not regulated by the ACNC, it is regulated at a state and territory level.

When fundraising, small charities should be aware of any obligations to the fundraising regulator in the state or territory in which they operate that they need to meet, such as applying for a permit or licence to fundraise.

Charities that conduct fundraising through gaming activities (such as lotteries or raffles) may have obligations to the gaming regulator in the state or territory they are conducting the activity in.

Visit our Fundraising Hub for more information.

Some charities might be eligible for tax concessions from Commonwealth, state, territory and local government agencies.

These range from goods and services tax (GST) concessions and deductible gift recipient (DGR) status, to exemptions from state and territory taxes, such as payroll taxes or stamp duty.

Charities will have to meet certain requirements to receive tax benefits from these government agencies.

It is important to note that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is responsible for deciding eligibility for Commonwealth charity tax benefits, not the ACNC.

You can find more information about charity tax concessions on the ACNC and ATO websites.

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