Key points:

  • The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is the independent national regulator of charities.
  • We register charities and help them understand and meet their obligations.
  • We monitor charities’ compliance with ACNC requirements, and manages non-compliance.
  • We help the public understand the work of the charity sector.
  • We work with other government agencies to reduce red tape on the charity sector.
  • Although our name includes 'not-for-profits', the ACNC currently only regulates charities.

What is the ACNC?

The ACNC was established in December 2012 as the independent national regulator of charities following years of enquiries into the regulation of the charity and not-for-profit sector.

Prior to the ACNC’s arrival, there was no dedicated regulation of charities in Australia. The ACNC was established with the following three objects:

  • to maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector through increased accountability and transparency
  • to support and sustain a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative not-for-profit sector
  • to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the sector.

What does the ACNC do?

The work of the ACNC is guided by its three objects and comprises a range of functions. The ACNC:

  • registers organisations as charities
  • maintains a free and searchable public register containing information about registered charities
  • regulates charities by ensuring they fulfil reporting and other ongoing obligations
  • helps charities understand and meet those obligations through information, guidance, advice and other support
  • helps the public understand the work of the charity sector.

What doesn’t the ACNC do?

Under its current legislative framework, the ACNC does not:

  • regulate not-for-profit entities that are not charities
  • regulate fundraising
  • resolve internal disputes within charities
  • manage complaints about a charity’s services or performance (unless there is a possible breach of the ACNC Act or ACNC Governance Standards)
  • decide for charities how they should manage finances and operations.

ACNC legislation

The ACNC was established by:

The ACNC Act sets out the objects and functions of the ACNC, as well as the framework for the registration and regulation of charities.

The ACNC also administers: