Transcript

Matt:

Hello and welcome to today’s webinar, the first of 2018, which is looking at the 2017 Annual Information Statement, giving you a hand getting through the form. My name is Matt Crichton, and joining me today to present the webinar is, as it says on your screen, Chris Riches.

Hello Chris.

Chris:

Hello.

Matt:

Hi everyone. We’re both from the Education Team here at the ACNC and we hope we can provide you with a useful webinar today. Just before we do get into the content proper, there’s a couple of just admin things we need to clear up.

If you have any troubles with the audio for the webinar, you can try listening through your phone. When you signed up, you should have received some details about the phone number you can call to tune into the audio via your phone. It will give you an access code. If you’ve having troubles with audio, try dialling that number, it generally works, and clears up any problems. If you have any questions throughout the webinar, don’t hesitate to ask them as we go. We’re happy to answer them as we go along.

We’ve got a couple of colleagues standing by waiting to answer your questions, Madison and Tim. They’ll do their very best to get to all your questions.

But of course, depending on the volume that they’re faced with, we might not be able to get to all of them during today’s webinar, and in the case that we don’t, whatever remaining unanswered questions, we will get to via email later on.

So your question will not remain unanswered, we can assure you of that.

And we’ll have some time for a Q and A session at the end, so if you prefer to watch the formal presentation and then ask some questions following it, that’s fine too, you don’t have to send your questions as we’re doing the formal presentation. You can wait for the Q and A session and we’ll choose a few questions that pop up then and answer them for you live.

And again, if we don’t get to all your questions, we will endeavour to do so later.

And finally, we are recording today’s webinar, as we do with all our webinars, so if you do happen to miss something, or your internet drops out, or you get called away for something important, don’t worry you can go onto our website in a couple of days, and you’ll find a recording of it, which will sit on the website forever.

So if you want to come back to it at any time, you can do so. Which also means that throughout the webinar, you don’t have to frantically scribble down every single reference to every link, and piece of information.

Of course, you can if you’d like to, but just know that it will be recorded, and we will send an email, a follow up email with all the references and links and information that you need, following the webinar, in the next couple of days.

OK. That’s all the admin stuff out the way. We will get to the presentation proper now, and hopefully provide you with some much-needed help for the 2017 Annual Information Statement, and still give you enough time to get to your lunch once we’re done.

All right, I will pass on to Chris now, who will take you over what we’ll cover today.

Chris:

Yeah, today’s webinar is aiming to help charities who are looking to fill in their 2017 Annual Information Statement, either for the first time, or people or charities who have done it previously.

We’ve got a little bit of information for everyone today. We’ve got quite a number of charities who have a reporting period which is aligned with the regular financial year.

That’s July 1 to June 30. They would probably be working through their Annual Information Statements right now, because they have a due date of 31 January.

So that’s why we’re having this webinar right now.

What we’re going to cover … let’s see. We’re going to provide some background on what the Annual Information Statement is. We’ll highlight our Annual Information Statement Hub, as well as the extra support materials we’ve got available to help you complete the form.

We’re going to run through some of the other information and documents and materials you’re going to need to complete your statement.

Now, the bulk of the webinar, once we get through all those bits and pieces, will be an overview of each of the sections in the statement. We’ll look to provide some info, some screen shots and some advice on how to fill out the form.

We’re going to have a particular focus on some of the new sections on the form, as well as sections which have tripped charities up in the past. One of those would be perhaps the financial section. There’s also a couple of questions in the activity section which sometimes trip charities up, so we’ll aim to help there.

We’ll also provide a quick reminder about what can happen if your charity fails to submit its Annual Information Statement, and look, it’s probably not a good thing. That’s your spoiler. OK, so let’s jump in without further ado.

Matt:

OK, Chris mentioned the Hub, the Annual Information Statement Hub. It’s just a spot on our website that has lots of information to help you through the Annual Information Statement, and you can find it as the URL says there on the screen, at acnc.gov.au/2017ais.

It contains a guide which is a really handy document to download and print out, or just have it handy when you’re completing the form, because it takes you through in great detail all the questions contained within the form.

The checklist and preventing mistakes guide is a really good one as well. We’ve taken the lessons we’ve learned and charities have learned over the past few years and come up with some useful tips to help them avoid some common errors that we’ve seen in previous years.

So definitely have a look at those resources. And we’ve also got video guides. Now these are little short videos that cover each section of the form. So if you’re more inclined to watch and learn from a short minute or so video, than you are from reading lots of text in a guide, by all means have a look at those videos.

They will help you answer each section of the AIS. And of course, when you’re in the form, which you can’t see on the screen now, but once you’re logged in and you’re doing the form, the help text for each question has been improved this year, and should provide you with lots of guidance, failing access to these resources.

Chris, what’s the Annual Information Statement?

Chris:

Okey dokey. This is pretty much information for people who may not have filled this one in before, but it’s an online form which all registered charities need to complete each year, or each reporting period, unless you’re a group which has an exemption. We’ll cover that in a little bit more detail later on.

The form asks a series of questions, and they’re both financial and non-financial question. The financial questions look at things like charity revenue, expenses, income funding sources, that sort of stuff.

Non-financial questions, they cover a number of other aspects of charity work ­- some of which you can see on the slide there. They’re activities, who charities help, staff and volunteer numbers, reporting board committee members, who we call responsible persons. That sort of thing.

Now, the information we get informs that ACNC’s work to ensure charities are complying with their obligations and doing the right thing, it’s also used in some other ways, one of which is to compile studies like our annual Australian Charities Report.

It also helps streamline reporting to various state, territory and federal regulators. One of the aims of the ACNC Act, one of the objects of the ACNC Act is to cut down on duplicate reporting and red tape.

So that’s a key part of why we’re asking some of these questions.

As you can see here, the Annual Information Statement, the due dates vary, but the form must be submitted within six months of the end of the charity’s reporting period.

Now, the two most common deadlines are June 30, and December 31. Now, we mention December 31, but for anyone whose Annual Information Statement was due on December 31, there is a one month extension in place, and that sees the deadline shift to January 31, which is obviously right around the corner.

You can check your charity’s Annual Information Statement deadline by visiting your entry or your charity’s entry on the charity register. That’s www.acnc.gov.au/charityregister.

A full run down of Annual Information Statement due dates can also be found on the ACNC website, and that’s at www.acnc.gov.au/reportingduedates.

Matt:

The short answer to the reporting due dates, if you didn’t get a chance to go over all of the guidance on the website, is that you look at the period to which your charity keeps its information, its finances and whatnot, keeps its records in its books, whatever that may be.

And as the screen says, it could be the calendar year, it could be the financial year, whatever that is, the due date for the AIS is six months following the end of that particular reporting period.

But as Chris said, lots of information on the website to help you out with that.

Accessing the Annual Information Statement is really easy. You can see a screen shot of our home page there on your screen at the moment, and it’s highlighting two options.

One in the top right hand corner is the charity portal. Click on that. That will take you to a spot to log in, using your charity’s unique user credentials, and then you can access the Annual Information Statement there.

Or, via the other link there, submit the AIS and the AIS Hub that we mentioned a couple of slides ago, which has lots of support materials there. So there’s plenty of ways to get to the AIS.

The most important thing is that you’ll need your user name – that’s your ABN, and the password, which as the responsible person for a charity, you should have handy.

Chris:

Now, once you get into the form, there’s an introductory page. Now, that goes through just some final instructions before lift-off, and some of them just remind you of some of the material you should have at hand to help you complete your charity statement.

We’ve got a list of those bits and pieces on the slide there, which we’ve also already mentioned. This year, charities importantly have the ability to save their form as they go.

Now, we recommend you save frequently, and if you save and exit the form, you can pick up when you return.

Charities can also preview their Annual Information Statement before they submit it this year. This allows charities to double check their responses before they submit their statement and one thing that we’ve taken note of and one thing that the preview function will help with is that a number of people who fill out this from on behalf of this charity like to check with perhaps their treasurer, some office bearers, just to make sure that their details in the form are correct.

So what this will do is it will allow you to preview it, print it, and do exactly that.

Now, the final point before we get into the form itself, we would ask charities to please be patient when working through the form. There are times when it will need to refresh and it will need to load new information, or new questions, depending on the responses you provide.

This doesn’t happen instantaneously. A loading message will appear on screen when the form is refreshing, or when new information is being loaded up. The web browser you’re using will clearly display when the form is refreshing and loading.

Be patient please. Wait for these processes to finish before continuing with the form.

We do apologise in advance if the form is a little slow in loading. It often ends up like that when there is heavy traffic from high numbers of people accessing the form. It can slow things down a touch.

The good news is that we’re working through the processes pretty much right now of significantly upgrading our systems, and this is going to include the Annual Information Statement form. That will make accessing and completing the form far quicker and far easier in the future.

Matt:

OK, thanks for that Chris. Onto the form now. Actually just before we move on, some of these things that we’ve got on the screen here, they will help you fill in the AIS but they might not necessarily be needed to get through it for some charities. It depends on the nature of the charity, the size of the charity.

But for example, don’t panic if you don’t have your PAYG payment summaries handy. You may still be able to get through the form with the other details that your charity has on hand.

Section A, basic charity information, this really shouldn’t require too much information on hand. Its name, contact information and size of the charity. Size is an interesting one. Just make sure you are aware of the charity sizes. It is small, medium and large with the ACNC, which is designated by revenue boundaries.

We’ll get onto that in a little bit.

Many of the questions will be prefilled with answers from your previous online AIS submission, and that speeds things up a little bit. And make sure you double check the charity size is correct, because that does affect the later stages of the form. It will change some of the questions that you have to answer later on. And of course if you make a mistake, that is alerted to us later on.

We’ll have to get in touch with you to have you correct it anyway, so it’s a good thing to get it done correctly at the beginning. How about Section B?

Chris:

Now that looks at activities, as it says there. That’s questions about your charity’s work. First question you’ll be asked is if your charity actually conducted any activities during the reporting period.

Now, we often remind charities that when we speak about activities, they can be financial or non-financial. Now, we don’t look at activities as just those traditional tangible things, running a service for homeless people, overseas aid work, that sort of stuff.

Of course these types of charitable work in the field or on the street are classed as activities, but the ACNC also classes other work as activities as well. Strategic planning, which charities should be doing, undertaking administrative work. Even just employing staff. They’re all activities as well. They’re all important as well.

Now, the aim of the question is to identify inactive charities. For all of you with us today, it’s highly unlikely your charity will be inactive, so answering yes to this question is most likely the way to go. If you do answer no, you’ll be asked to explain why your charity didn’t conduct activities in the most recent reporting period.

Matt:

And that third point there is probably a good rule of thumb. If you’re unsure, it’s likely that it is yes, because no would imply that your charity is no longer running. So as Chris mentioned, activities goes beyond that which you would ordinarily think of as classic activities.

Section B Activities specifically, and some of the beneficiaries, is a question that has tripped up some people in the past.

It asks about the activities during the 2017 reporting period. Again, reporting period is that period to which your charity reports its finances and its activities.

As you can see, you can choose your charity’s main activity from a drop-down list there. This is a screen shot from the actual form itself, by the way, that you can see on your screen now.

And choose the one category that best suits your charity’s main activity. And we understand that many charities have multiple main activities, which is where the next part of the question comes in.

If your charity does have more than one main activity, you can select from the list below. You can see the first part on your screen, but it’s just the main activity there, is to choose one main one. More than others. We understand that doesn’t lock you in to that activity solely, but it does require you to make a judgement on the part of the charity that you’re filling this form in for.

The rest of the questions in Section B activities will ask you about where the charity has conducted its activities, locations.

Describe how the charity’s activities and outcomes have helped achieve the purpose of the charity. Your annual report will often contain a great run down of something like this that you can use to respond here.

And it asks you to state who the charity’s beneficiaries are. These are the people that the charity helps, the ones that it’s set up to help.

You can see there on the screen, question 11 says: Who were your charity’s main beneficiaries in the 2017 reporting period? When thinking about beneficiaries, many charities will note they do help a wide cross section of the community, not a specific group in particular.

And if that’s the case or if it’s focused on the environment or animals, select the “General Community in Australia” option as your response, if it’s not covered by a specific group listed within the drop-down menu.

Chris:

We’re on to Section C. That’s human resources. That’s staff and volunteers, fancy term for staff and volunteers. This section is pretty short, and it’s also pretty self-explanatory.

It asks you to fill in the number of employees, both full time and part time, and also your volunteers.

Your annual report, your organisational report or your PAYG payment summaries can help you answer this question. Now, when you’re working through this question, keep in mind that volunteers can be regular, they can be people you see every day, every week or every month, or irregular.

They might be someone who’s turned up to a big volunteer event once a year for example. Now, also important to remember that volunteers can include any unpaid board or committee members as well.

A new question in this section this year asks you how many full time equivalent or FTE staff worked for your charity during the last pay period of the 2017 reporting period.

This figure is the number of full time employees that your charity would have, if it combined the hours of full time, part time and casual employees.

Matt:

So that one, sorry to jump in there, Chris. So if a charity has a few full time employees, they’ve got a few part time that are on regular hours, and they’ve got a few casuals that do sporadic hours, but those hours are recorded none the less, the full time equivalent would just be the amount of hours that all of those put together adds up to.

Chris:

Yeah. Your full time staff might be say 35 hours, it might be 38 hours. What we have online, what we have through the AIS form, we have a calculator which will help you add these figures up. You’ll be able to work out, or enter into the calculator how many staff you’ve got working on a normal full time basis, which again might be 35 or 38 hours.

And then what you’ll be able to do is add up the hours of your part time and your casual staff, work them out to what they would be if they were full time equivalent, which is 35 or 38 hours, and it will come up with a figure which you can then enter into your AIS and that will be what we will call the Full Time Equivalent figure. The calculator is linked directly from the form, which is great.

So you can get on there, and you can add it up, get back into the form, put the figures in. It is also linked directly from the guide, the AIS guide as well.

Now, the other thing, there’s two other things that we need to be aware of here. When you’re doing your FTE figure don’t include volunteer numbers.

That’s been something that we’ve gotten a little bit of feedback on – people have included their volunteer numbers in their FTE numbers. We’re only after staff, not volunteers. The volunteer numbers you can enter into a question just previous to the FTE question.

And the last thing, when you’re doing these figures, we will accept your best estimate, in case you’re not 100% sure of exact numbers. If you’ve got exact numbers, great, if you can go through, add them up and work it out, great. If not, and you can give us a pretty decent estimate, that’s fine as well.

Matt:

And that would be most likely the case for charities that have casual staff on irregular hours and it’s hard to sum it up in a nice figure. Best estimate in those cases.

Chris:

OK, let’s have a look at Section D, which is the finances. It’s important to keep in mind that we’ve come across instances of errors in reporting financial figures in previous years.

So this is a section that it’s worth doing slowly, very carefully and making sure that you’re getting everything correct.

Have a look at the document that we mentioned at the beginning that’s also listed here, called the Avoiding Mistakes Guide, I guess we’ll call it. The link there is www.acnc.gov.au/2017aisavoidmistakes, all as one word. That will help you, as it suggests, avoid mistakes.

Just ways to prevent some of the more commonly made errors in this section are listed on the slide you can see on your screen.

A lot of it is just about being well prepared and having the documents and information you need to, before you start the section. And just double checking to make sure you haven’t made any typos or errors.

Believe it or not, when keying in some figures, that has resulted in significant errors for charities which, the knock-on effect of which is that they have to then redo, correct their errors and re-submit their AIS at a later date.

So just get it right at the beginning, you’ll avoid lots of trouble later on. Double check, triple check, all your figures.

The third point here that we’ve got is know if your charity is confirmed as a Basic Religious Charity. This is a particular type of charity that the ACNC, it’s like a charity category that the ACNC has. It’s not just a basic description of charities that are both religious and fairly simple, and basic, it is a particular category that has several criteria that the organisation must meet to be confirmed as what we’ve called a Basic Religious Charity.

That’s important, because it affects the sorts of details and the information that you need to provide in your Annual Information Statement. And what we’ve found in the past is that some charities that are religious charities have misunderstood the term as to be just a generic descriptor, and thought I’m religious, and I’m pretty basic, we’re just a church, so I’m a Basic Religious Charity. That’s not the case.

They’ve mistakenly identified themselves as a basic religious charity. Really, keep this in mind. Basic Religious Charity is a particular type of category that is based on several criteria, and the organisation, to be confirmed as such, needs to meet all of those criteria.

You can read about that on our website. We’ll provide a link for that later on and in the follow up email that comes, following the webinar.

And finally, remember to submit the charity’s financial report, including the financial statements, for medium and large charities.

Some charities, believe it or not, have forgot to do that. And ensure you hit the attach button. That’s one simple thing you can do, hit attach.

All right, now looking here we’ve got some of the cut offs for the small, medium and large, we mentioned these earlier on.

The small charities, cut off, as you can see, annual revenue of less than 250 grand. Medium, 250,000 or more, but less than a million. And large, the annual revenue is $1 million or more. Now, questions in Section D, in the finance section, they vary depending on the charity size.

Obviously there’s some additional information required for medium and large charities, which we will go through.

So it’s important that you get your charity size right, back in Section A, when we ask you, because when you enter that size, your questions in Section D will vary depending on what size you are, small, medium or large. As we said, ACNC bases charity size on annual revenue.

Now as you can see on this slide, there’s a quick definition of revenue. It’s important your charity knows the difference between revenue and income, so it gets things right.

Revenue is usually shown as one of the top line items in an income, or profit (and loss) statement. It can be made up of things like grants or donations, bequests, sales of goods, interests, fees for service provision, that sort of thing.

If you have any specific questions about charity size and revenue, you can call us on 13 22 62 or email advice@acnc.gov.au and we can go through and answer your specific questions, or those questions that are specific to your charity.

Now, as we mentioned, there’s a number of requirements for small, medium and large charities, when it comes to Section D and financial reporting.

One thing that medium and large charities need to do, which small charities don’t have to, they have to submit an annual financial report, alongside their Annual Information Statement. Submitting an annual financial report is mandatory for medium and large charities, and optional for small ones.

What the annual financial report has to include is listed there on the slide. These requirements are for charities with no transitional reporting requirements. If you have transitional reporting requirements, again, would be a good idea to give us a call, work through if you have any queries with our lovely people in Advice.

Medium sized charities have the option of submitting a reviewer’s report or auditor’s report. Large charities must submit an auditor’s report.

The Annual Information Statement form will request you upload your financial report as an attachment. To do so, you’ll reach a certain point in the form, it’s pretty simple. It’s a basic attach, upload and attach sort of thing.

You click the attach button, after you’ve uploaded your document, please click attach, because if you don’t, the uploaded document won’t attach, and we won’t get it. So just do that, make sure the document that you have uploaded attaches.

And also as you work through Section D, it’s probably a good idea to save your work, perhaps even after every section, but particularly Section D, because there’s obviously some figures that have to be put in. Some stuff that needs to be uploaded. So that would probably be the best way to go.

Matt:

There’s some guidance on the website to help you through this section, particularly with some of the definitions and things that make up revenue and types of accounting and that sort of thing.

We understand that many people that work in charities may not deal with this in their regular jobs. It might be something they’re doing on the side, or out of business hours on the weekend, and may not have all the knowledge all ready to go.

So the guides are here to help you get through them, if that’s the case. A run down on cash and accrual accounting on our website.

Again, we’ll put all of these links in the follow up email that comes. So don’t feel the need to scribble them all down now, it’s just more to highlight that there are these resources on the ACNC website to help you through each section of the financial part of the Annual Information Statement.

And of course, as Chris mentioned, if there’s a particular tricky thing that’s specific to your organisation, something about your revenue or your income, please give us a call, we’ll be able to provide much more detailed specific guidance and answers for you if you give us a call and let us know the details of your organisation.

Chris:

All right, now we’ve gotten through the financial section, which is wonderful, so we’re sort of on the homeward stretch. There’s a couple of new parts of the Annual Information Statement which we’ll cover as part of our remaining slides.

One of those sections is Section E.

Now that looks at your annual report. It allows charities to upload their annual report or share a web link to it, so it can be displayed on that charity’s entry on the charity register.

Now, having your annual report on the register, it’s a great way for yourselves, your charity to showcase the work you do, to existing or potential donors, to supporters, to funders, to the wider community.

It increases charity transparency as well, which is important.

If you want to upload a copy of your annual report, just choose the file when you’re prompted in Section E. Find the document you wish to upload. It might be on your desktop, it might be in your files, in your documents, that sort of thing. Hit the attach button once you’ve uploaded it.

Again, please hit the attach button. At this point the document will attach. It doesn’t happen instantaneously, so just wait for a short time to ensure the document uploads and attaches.

Now, if your annual report is already online, it might be, as it is, quite commonly part of your charity’s website for example, your charity can just supply a web address which links to the document. So that’s the other option. You can either upload and attach a document, or you can just give us a web link, and either way we’ll be able to access your annual report there.

The other part of this slide that we’ll cover is Section G, that’s other obligations. Now, it contains questions about certain details the ACNC holds, and that’s just to make sure they’re up to date and they’re accurate.

So this year, charities have the ability to update their list of Responsible Persons directly through their Annual Information Statement, which is very handy. If your Responsible Persons have changed positions within your organisation, or they might have left or new ones have arrived, all these changes can be easily outlined through the Annual Information Statement.

Matt:

Just before we move on there, Chris, a Responsible Person again, maybe for the people that are doing this for the first time, or are new to a charity, new to the ACNC, what is a Responsible Person?

Chris:

Pretty basically speaking, it’s a board or a committee member. Someone who has, as the name suggests, a level of responsibility for your charity’s direction, for its operation, and that sort of thing.

Matt:

So not necessarily all the staff or the people that you hire at the charity that you consider are responsible. It’s not, again, a generic description of someone who’s a good person, very responsible, it’s a specific designation of the people responsible for the direction of the charity, the decisions of the charity. So a board, or a committee.

Chris:

A team of management, that sort of stuff. Now, with your responsible persons, when your charity gets to this part of the form, there’s a list or a little table there. You can see a screen shot up on your screen.

What you’ll be requested to do is if any Responsible Persons have left your charity or changed roles, you can edit or remove their details by clicking on the remove or edit option in the first table. To add a Responsible Person, go to the second table, and click on the add new record option. There’s a little pop out screen that will appear that will ask you for that new responsible person’s details.

So fill that in, save, and the details will be updated. Now, Section G also reminds charities to update their Governing Document or their charity subtypes. Now, Governing Document is the document that I guess provides the direction for your charity’s operation. It’s often called a deed, or what are some of the other names?

Matt:

Constitution, rules of association maybe. Many organisations have say model rules, if they’re an incorporated association. Just the document that sets out the rules and the processes by which the organisation has to operate.

Chris:

Now, all this updating, its main aim is to ensure the information that we have is accurate and up-to-date. It also ensures your charity complies with its obligation to notify us of any changes to your details as well.

Matt:

Alright, the sharp-eyed lot of you will have noticed we skipped F in there, we went from E to G.

We’re back to F now. As the title suggests, it asks about states and territories. It’s a new section for 2017, the Annual Information Statement previously didn’t have this part.

It will just help the ACNC work with state and territory regulators as Chris mentioned earlier in the webinar. That’s one of the aims, and the more information we have about the reporting required of charities by other government bodies, particularly at the state and territory level, will help the ACNC work towards streamlining that reporting and reduce the instances of duplicated reporting, where charities may have to submit the same thing multiple times to multiple regulators.

Of course, that’s the sort of thing we want to clean up and streamline. The questions are for charities which are incorporated associations, or for those that intend to fundraise in the 2018 reporting period.

A lot of organisations, a lot of charities, are incorporated associations, so it’s likely to apply to them. It’s worth having a think about your own charity’s structure.

If you’re unsure, ask around and see if you can figure out what structure your organisations takes. It might be an incorporated association.

And also importantly, for those that aren’t, but intend to fundraise in 2018, which I imagine would be a fairly common occurrence, this question is required as well.

Chris:

So the first question refers, as Matt said, specifically to incorporated associations. Important point to note here is that the question is for charities incorporated with their state or territory, and which report to a state or territory regulator.

Now, that might be Office of Fair Trading, for example, Consumer Affairs, consumer protection body, that sort of thing.

Now, if your charity falls under that sort of heading, simply answer yes to the question. Otherwise you simply select no.

If you select yes, the form will refresh, there’ll be a bit of a pause, you’ll see the loading screen come up, and you’ll be asked for a little bit more information, and that information will be directly related to the state or territory you are incorporated in. And you’ll be most likely asked for your incorporated association number.

Now, depending on what state or territory you in incorporated with, you might also be asked questions as a bit of a follow up. Now, one of them might be the date of your charity’s annual general meeting.

There’s another one, I think, that asks about the number of members or board members as well. It just depends on what state or territory you’re in.

So just have a careful read through, as you work through that section, and make sure you’re answering the right questions. The second question in this section again, looks at fundraising. You’ll be asked if you intend to fundraise during the reporting period. Simple, again yes or no question.

If you answer yes, again, more questions will appear. They will ask you which states or territories you’ll be fundraising in, and if you hold a fundraising licence, you’ll be asked to enter it next to the relevant states or territories in which you hold it.

Again, good spot here in which to save your progress. Double check it, make sure it’s all good, and them move on again.

Matt:

So if you are an incorporated association, having these sorts of details handy will help you through this section. Some of the numbers and what not.

Rule of thumb, I guess if you know that you report to something like Office of Fair Trading or Consumer Business Affairs in some states, different names in different states, but if you know you report to a state body like that, it’s highly likely that you’re an incorporated association, if you’re unsure.

OK, there we go, we forgot to give you the screen shot to help you through that, but that’s what it would look like. So they’re the questions that will pop up.

Chris:

We did say they were simple, so there you go. And also again, you’ve got that help text there which will help you work through those questions as well.

OK, ancillary funds. Now I’ll sort of say right now that ancillary funds is something that most of you probably won’t have to deal with. It’s not applicable for the vast majority of charities who are completing the Annual Information Statement.

If you do need to fill in this section, our guide has got plenty of support to help you out. And just to note here, too, as it says there on the side, completing this section of the AIS, it replaces the requirement to lodge a separate ATO Ancillary Fund Return for 2017. Any information that you give us in this section, it won’t be published at all.

What will happen to it is it will only be forwarded on to the ATO just so they have those records. And again, it’s an endeavour to try and streamline reporting and to cut down duplicate reporting as well.

Matt:

This section won’t even pop up if you’re not an ancillary fund, so if most of these words just mean nothing to you, it’s likely that you’re not an ancillary fund, and you won’t have to worry anyway.

But if you are working for an ancillary fund, or you’ve got responsibility for an ancillary fund, many of these words will probably make perfect sense, and you’ll know what we’re talking about. That’s probably where the distinction lies on this section.

Last one, declaration and form preview. Tick the declaration box. It asks you that the information you’ve provided is true and correct. We’ve really reiterated the importance of double checking to make sure that everything is correct throughout, so do that.

You can preview the form as well. Just click preview submission when you do, and you’ll receive a draft copy which you can have a look over before you click submit.

So if you do need to get someone else to have a look at it, you need the Chief Financial Officer or the Board or whoever it is to give approval, that’s the way you can do that.

Unless you want everyone to just come and crowd around your computer and preview it on the screen. You can do that too, but this is a more practical solution, I think.

Chris:

You can preview it on screen, you can also print out the preview as well, which is the best of both worlds.

Matt:

And we’ve had a number of charities in the past that have completed their form, as in they’ve answered all the questions that they need to answer, but they didn’t click submit at the end, and then on our end it looks like they haven’t submitted their Annual Information Statement.

And then once it passes the due date, and they’re late by more than six months, we notify them. They’re shocked because they thought they did it before the deadline. It turns out it was as simple as not hitting submit. As silly as that may sound to highlight here, it’s happened, and we’ve learned from it.

So it’s something that we want to reiterate. Just click submit. It’s probably the easiest thing you’ll have to do in the whole form, it’s not worth being late and missing deadlines for something so silly.

So let’s make sure we all hit submit. And that will be it.

You’ll get a confirmation that we’ve received the AIS And it should then be, the information should be published on the charity’s page on the Charity Register following submission.

Chris:

Now, we’ve gone through the form, and we also probably have to go through what happens if you don’t do the right thing and don’t submit your Annual Information Statement.

This slide here provides a bit of a run down on that. There are consequences. There’s no two ways about it. This is something that charities need to do.

So we’d rather not have to mention these, but we still do have charities that don’t do the right thing, don’t fulfil their reporting requirements.

So there’s a number of actions the ACNC can take if charities don’t do the right thing. They range from statements and red marks on the organisation’s Charity Register listing, which don’t look good. They make it clear to the public that the charity isn’t up to date with its reporting.

They can go further than that, there can be penalty notices, and there’s the possibility of a charity losing its registration. If a charity doesn’t submit its Annual Information Statement for two years, it becomes what we call a double defaulter.

You may have seen that term used around the website, and that sort of thing. When that occurs, we will look to revoke a charity’s registration, and that means it loses its eligibility for tax deductions and the like.

And also, if it’s just through a simple mistake, it’s a bit of a hassle getting re-registered as well. So do the right thing, please submit your Annual Information Statement.

There’s more details on the link there, you can see at the bottom of the slide, about what happens if you don’t do the right thing. But just do the right thing, that would be the easiest way to go.

Matt:

It’s worth reiterating the effect that such a statement, such a red notice, has on the reputation of a charity in the public mind. The Charity Register is viewed by quite a number of people to look up charities to see if they’re registered, to find out details about charities, and to see a big red symbol to let the public know that the charity doesn’t complete its reporting requirements, really has a damaging affect on the charity’s reputation. And a charity’s reputation is really important. It can often take decades to build, and the trust that comes with that. But it’s so fragile, and it’s so easily broken.

So you wouldn’t want to allow something as simple as not completing the Annual Information Statement on time, to affect a charity’s reputation in that way.

And that’s it for the formal presentation. There is more information on the website. We’ve really thrown a lot of links at you today, so I wouldn’t expect you to have to write down all of these. We will include all of them in an email that is sent to you as attendees in the next couple of days.

So write down the ones you need to, but don’t worry if you can’t do so. You will get an email with all of these links. Importantly, the guide and the checklist, avoid mistakes, are really handy to help you get through the AIS Stay in touch with us. We’ve got lots of web guidance, video content and webinars such as these throughout the year.

If you need help with your organisation in particular, whatever it may be, give us a call on 13 22 62, that’s 13ACNC, if you need a shorter way, or an easier way to remember the phone number. Happy to help you with anything. Or send us an email, advice@acnc.gov.au for stuff about your charity or your organisation.

You can get email updates and newsletters as well from us. And we have a series of podcasts, and we are fairly active on social media as well.

Thank you, a different email address is here, and that one’s for feedback in particular about the webinars. So if you have any comments or questions or feedback that you would like to give us, then please do so at education@acnc.gov.au.

Don’t send questions about your charity’s operations or whatever it might be, finances, to this email address. They’re the questions that go to advice@acnc.gov.au. education@acnc.gov.au is for your questions, comments and feedback regarding the education aspect of things, such as webinars.

We’ve got some time for some questions now. So let’s have a look at what we’ve got.

Chris, we did mention earlier on, really early on, the first section of the AIS there was a mention of confirming that the details are correct, including the Address for Service. Someone’s just asked about this Address for Service.

Basically what it is in particular, is there a particular address that needs to be provided there, whether that needs to be the post office address or the business address or the email address, or whatever it may be.

Chris:

Generally speaking, the Address For Service, we look at it in this context. It’s an address, and it’s often an email address, that is used by us to communicate directly with the charity. It’s to direct all our correspondence.

Now, it might not sound massively important, but it is, because obviously we need to get in touch with charities, need to tell them, for example, that they need to submit their Annual Information Statement.

But there’s also obviously other messages, and other bits and pieces that occur during the year that we need to get in touch with them with. So Question 4, which does ask for you not only to enter your address for service, but to confirm it as well, very important, double check it.

That address should be a general email address. One that perhaps is an email address for your charity, rather than Joe Bloggs @ mycharity.com.au or something like that. Because what can happen is if your responsible persons change, the ability for you to access that email address might end.

And that means that your Address For Service, you can’t access it, you can’t get the information you need from us, and we can’t get in touch with you, and that unfortunately can lead to issues in terms of us not being able to get in touch, pass on messages, communicate that you need to submit documents and that sort of thing.

So make sure that you’ve got that question right.

Matt:

Importantly, it can be an email address. I hope that comes through in the answer too. It doesn’t have to be a physical address, and in many cases, an email address is the most practical for an organisation, because if they need to receive a reminder, a notification or something, an email address is the means by which they want to receive it.

And if there is an email address listed as the address for service for the charity, that’s the first point of call for us. We will send an email, rather than posting a letter or anything like that. So if you’ve got an email address, please put it in there.

And I think that’s why it’s important to keep it up to date. Charities don’t often move physical addresses, they’re in a single location for a long time, but email addresses come and go.

And many charities have missed notifications, important notifications, simply because they didn’t think of their address for service as being an email address, and didn’t think to check that the correct email address was being used as the ACNC’s address for service.

OK, we’ve got another question about finances. Someone was not quite sure who, which, charities were required to submit financial information.

It might be worth just going over that once more. There are three sizes. There are small charities, medium charities and large charities. Chris, what are the boundaries that separate those tiers?

Chris:

Small charities, we look at total revenue, so revenue is the factor here. Small charities have a total annual revenue of under $250,000. Medium is $250,000, but not quite to under a million.

Matt:

That’s to $999,999.

Chris:

All the nines. And large charities are a million dollars or more in revenue.

So they’re the three main boundaries. Again, you answering, or charities answering that question in the first section will impact on the questions they are asked in Section D, the financial section.

So double, triple check that you’ve got that right.

Matt:

And then which ones are supposed, or which ones have to submit a financial statement in the financial section of the AIS?

Chris:

The small charities don’t have to. They can, we welcome it, it’s great.

Matt:

We encourage it.

Chris:

It’s optional for them. Medium and large charities, we ask that they submit a financial statement. And the requirements for those financial statements differ slightly between medium and large charities.

Medium charities can work through a reviewer’s report or an auditor’s report. Large charities have to submit an auditor’s report as part of their documents. So again, just be aware of what your size is, but also what the requirements are.

And again, there’s plenty of guidance on the website, both through the AIS guidance, but generally on the site as well.

Matt:

OK, so the short answer, if you’re a large charity you must submit an audited financial report. Medium charity, you have a choice. Reviewed or audited report. Small charities don’t have to, but we encourage it, and it’s a good nod to transparency and accountability to do so.

The due dates for filling in the Annual Information Statement. Someone’s just asked, they’re a little bit confused, can we go over that once more?

So we might actually up the slide. There it is. It might come across as a little bit confusing here. So probably the culprit is this phrase, reporting period.

Think about the 12 month period to which the charity reports, or keeps records of its finances and activities and whatnot. For many charities, this is going to be, like businesses and individuals that have to do their tax return, it’s going to be the financial year, which is, in Australia, 1 July through to 30 June.

For other charities, a large chunk of charities have a calendar year reporting period. So they keep all their financial activities, their books to the January to December calendar year. They’re the most common.

Of course, you can have any 12 month period you like, so yours may begin on the 1st of April or the 1st of May, or whatever it may be. The due date for all charities will differ, but the consistent point is that it’s six months following the end of the charity’s unique reporting period.

The timing of this webinar is probably most pertinent for those that report on a regular financial year end, because their financial year finished in June, end of June. Six months following that is the due date for the Annual Information Statement.

But as Chris mentioned, we have given a one month extension, bringing that 31 December deadline up to 31 January. For this lot only.

Otherwise, the regular six month period is the, six months following the end of the reporting period is the due date for other charities. I hope that clears that up.

But of course, if you have any more questions about your charity’s particular circumstances, please send us an email advice@acnc.gov.au or give us a call, 13 22 62 and we’ll happily answer what you need to.

OK, well that takes us through to the end of the webinar today.

Sorry, I’m skipping through the slides so we can get back to our contact details and whatnot.

When we end the webinar, there will be a very, very short survey. I think it is only three questions. We appreciate it if you answer it. You don’t have to, it’s not compulsory, but we do get a lot out of those feedback surveys at the end, and we’d appreciate it if you took the time, which my guess is probably 20 seconds, if that.

Thanks very much, everyone, really appreciate your attendance.

If we didn’t get around to your question, we apologise, we will endeavour to do so via email. If there’s anything you need to call and ask us about, please do so on 13 22 62. And we look forward to seeing you in future webinars. Thanks, Chris.

Chris:

Thank you.

Matt:

See you next time.

Chris:

See you later.

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