• 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.

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.

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.

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.

The ACNC was established by:

  • Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) (the ACNC Act)

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:

  • Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Regulation 2013 (Cth). These regulations provide more detailed requirements about the ACNC Charity Register, financial reporting and set out the ACNC’s Governance Standards.
  • Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Regulation 2016 (Cth). This Act sets out transitional arrangements for the establishment of the ACNC and amends other legislation.
  • Charities Act 2013 (Cth) (the Charities Act). This Act introduces a statutory definition of charity that more clearly sets out the Common Law meaning of charity, as well as clarifying some areas of uncertainty.
  • Charities (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2013 (Cth)
  • Charities (Definition of Government Entity) Instrument 2013. This defines the term 'Government Entity' as it applies to charities in the ACNC Act.

Our website contains more information about ACNC-related legislation.