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November 27, 2013

The future of the ACNC

Amidst ongoing speculation about the future of the ACNC, the ACNC Commissioner has announced that she has met with both the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos AO, and the Minister for Social Services, Hon Kevin Andrews MP to discuss the Government’s pre-election commitments, the work of the ACNC and ongoing plans for the future.

While the Assistant Treasurer has portfolio responsibility for the ACNC Act, the Minister for Social Services has policy leadership for the NFP sector.

The Minister for Social Services intends to conduct formal consultation with the NFP sector on how the Government’s election commitments would be implemented prior to finalising the Government’s NFP plans.

The Commissioner has also announced that for charities with a 1 July to 30 June financial reporting period, the date for submission of the 2013 Annual Information Statement has been extended from 31 December 2013 up until 31 March 2014.

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Posted 27th November 2013 by David Jacobson in Charities, Not-for-profit sector

October 10, 2013

What are the reporting obligations of companies that are also registered with the ACNC?

ASIC has clarified when Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) registered companies cease to have reporting obligations to ASIC.

As a registered charity with the ACNC:

  • A public company (such as a company limited by guarantee) no longer needs to lodge changes to its constitution with ASIC or tell ASIC of the adoption or repeal of a constitution.
  • A company is no longer required to send a copy of its constitution to members who request a copy.
  • A company is no longer required to notify ASIC of a change of their address details, including their registered office address, principal place of business address or contact address. The ACNC will advise ASIC of changes to the registered office address of a company.
  • A company is no longer required to notify ASIC of the appointment, resignation or retirement of directors, secretaries and alternate directors or submit personal details of directors and secretaries.
  • A company will not be sent an ASIC annual statement each year (on the company’s review date) and will not have to review their details or pay the annual review fee. However, if the last annual review date was before registration with the ACNC, the company must pay the annual review fee to ASIC.

For the 2012–13 reporting period, companies that are required to lodge financial reports with ASIC must still do so, even if they are registered with the ACNC.

For the 2013-14 Financial period onwards companies that are registered with the ACNC do not need to lodge financial reports for years commencing on or after 1 July 2013 with ASIC.

Instead, medium and large charities registered with the ACNC will be required to provide annual financial reports to the ACNC.

This continues for as long as a company or registered body remains a registered charity. If it is deregistered with the ACNC, its obligations to ASIC will resume.

The Corporations Act contains a table of provisions that will no longer be applicable to bodies corporate registered under the ACNC Act (see section 111L(1)).

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Posted 10th October 2013 by David Jacobson in Charities, Corporations Act, Not-for-profit sector

September 24, 2013

No changes at ACNC

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has responded to media speculation about its future following the election of the new Government.

According to the Commissioner:

The ACNC is very much alive and implementing its statutory obligations.

The ACNC was created by an Act of Parliament, and unless and until that Act is amended or repealed, the Commissioner is expected to implement the Act. What this means is that the ACNC continues to deliver on its statutory responsibilities such as registration; reporting, advice and guidance. We will continue our work on reducing red tape for the sector, in keeping with the third object in the ACNC Act. Charities will continue to meet their obligations such as completing the Annual Information Statement and notifying the ACNC of any significant changes.

In addition the Commissioner noted that:

  • the ACNC and the ATO are working co-operatively.
  • Once the 2013 Annual Information Statement is received, current data gaps will be completed and the ACNC will be able to provide pre-populated forms in the future, thereby saving time and cost for charities.
  • the number of open complaints cases under review with the ACNC is 0.062 percent of registered charities.

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Posted 24th September 2013 by David Jacobson in Charities, Not-for-profit sector

August 27, 2013

National Regulatory System for Community Housing starts testing

Phase One of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH) is currently in a six-month period of system testing and evaluation with 24 housing providers from across Australia selected to undergo the registration process.

Formal commencement is expected in January 2014.

Background

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Posted 27th August 2013 by David Jacobson in Deregulation, Not-for-profit sector, Property

May 30, 2013

Charities defined

The Government has introduced the Charities Bill 2013 into the House of Representatives.

UPDATE 28 June 2013: The Bill has been passed by both Houses of Parliament and is awaiting Royal Assent.

The Bill contains a statutory definition of "charity".

Charity means an entity:
(a) that is a not-for-profit entity; and
(b) all of the purposes of which are:
(i) charitable purposes that are for the public benefit (see Division 2 of this Part); or
(ii) purposes that are incidental or ancillary to, and in furtherance or in aid of, purposes of the entity covered by subparagraph (i); and
Note 1: In determining the purposes of the entity, have regard to the entity’s governing rules, its activities and any other relevant matter.
Note 2: The requirement in subparagraph (b)(i) that a purpose be for the public benefit does not apply to certain entities (see section 9).
(c) none of the purposes of which are disqualifying purposes (see Division 3) ; and
(d) that is not an individual, a political party or a government entity.

The proposed start date for the statutory definition of charity will be 1 January 2014.

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Posted 30th May 2013 by David Jacobson in Charities, Not-for-profit sector, Tax

April 9, 2013

Draft statutory definition of charity

Treasury has released for comment a draft Charities Bill 2013 which will introduce a statutory definition of "charity", applicable across all Commonwealth laws for the first time.

The definition is:

charity means an entity:
(a) that is a not-for-profit entity; and
(b) all of the purposes of which are:
(i) charitable purposes (see Part 3) that are for the public benefit (see Division 2 of this Part); or
(ii) purposes that are incidental or ancillary to, and in furtherance or in aid of, purposes of the entity covered by subparagraph (i); and
Note 1: In determining the purposes of the entity, have regard to the entity’s governing rules, its activities and any other relevant matter.
Note 2: The requirement in subparagraph (b)(i) that a purpose be for the public benefit does not apply to certain entities (see section 9).
(c) none of the purposes of which are disqualifying purposes (see Division 3) ; and
(d) that is not an individual, a political party or a government entity.

The definition will apply from 1 January 2014.

As a result of the introduction of a definition of charity and charitable purpose in the Charities Bill 2013, a number of consequential amendments to Commonwealth legislation and transitional arrangements are required. These are set out in the draft Charities (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2013.
(more...)

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Posted 9th April 2013 by David Jacobson in Charities, Not-for-profit sector, Tax

February 5, 2013

Not-for-profit tax changes deferred

The Government has announced that the 2011-12 Budget measure "Better Targeting of NFP Tax Concessions" will now commence from 1 July 2014.

The changes require that:

  • income tax exempt entities must comply with substantive requirements in their governing rules and being a ‘not-for-profit’ entity;
  • income tax exempt entities generally must be operated principally in Australia and for the broad benefit of the Australian community; and
  • deductible gift recipients generally must be operated solely in Australia and for the broad benefit of the Australian community.

The start date of 1 July 2014 is proposed to apply to activities that commenced after 7:30 pm (AEST) on 10 May 2011. The measure will not impact on tax concessions that were used for these activities prior to 1 July 2014.

As part of transitional arrangements, relevant activities that commenced prior to 7:30 pm (AEST) on 10 May 2011 will not become subject to the measure until 1 July 2015. The measure will not impact on tax concessions that were used for these activities prior to 1 July 2015.

Background

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Posted 5th February 2013 by David Jacobson in Not-for-profit sector, Tax

January 15, 2013

Guide for board members of charities

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has published a Guide for board members and others who manage charities.

The Guide covers registering with the ACNC, Commonwealth tax concessions, ongoing obligations and proposed minimum governance standards.

It also includes a "ready reckoner" of key ACNC dates.

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Posted 15th January 2013 by David Jacobson in Charities, Corporate Governance, Not-for-profit sector

December 31, 2012

Draft governance standards for charities

The Government has released for public consultation a discussion paper on development of governance standards for charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and draft regulations on the new ACNC financial reporting framework.

Final standards are expected to commence on 1 July 2013.

The standards will apply to registered charities, excepting basic religious charities. Charities will need to comply with these standards to be, and remain, registered with the ACNC. The governance standards are intended to reflect a minimum set of outcomes for registered charities.

The six draft governance standards cover:
• purposes and NFP character of a charity;
• accountability to members (for those charities with members);
• compliance with Australian laws;
• responsible management of financial affairs;
• suitability of responsible entities; and
• duties of responsible entities.

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Posted 31st December 2012 by David Jacobson in Charities, Not-for-profit sector

November 1, 2012

Charities Bill passed by Senate

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Bill 2012 and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Bill 2012 have been passed by the Senate with amendments.

The bills have been sent to the House of Representatives for approval of the changes.

The amendments include:

  • clarification that the governance standards will be focussed on outcomes and will specify principles as to how the registered entity must achieve those outcomes, including proportional standards that recognise the size and nature of the registered entity;
  • provide for the maximum annual revenue for a deductible gift recipient fund (DGR fund) operated by a basic religious charity to be increased from $250,000, in line with changes to the thresholds for small registered entities; and
  • simplify the transition of entities to ACNC regulation where entities are operating a public benevolent institution (or multiple public benevolent institutions) or a health promotion charity (or multiple health promotion charities) and where the whole of the entity is not such an institution (that is, where the institution is notionally operated or conducted in-house, usually by an unincorporated religious institution) to ensure these entities transition appropriately to the ACNC, and both the operated institution of the entity, and the remainder of the entity keep the existing concessions they currently have access to.

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Posted 1st November 2012 by David Jacobson in Charities, Not-for-profit sector
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