Regulation of charities in Tasmania

Charities registered with the ACNC have ongoing obligations under the ACNC Act. A charity may also have obligations to other Commonwealth, state or local government agencies.

Obligations to the ACNC

If a charity is registered with the ACNC, it has ongoing obligations to maintain registration, including to:

Obligations to other government agencies

A charity may have obligations to and receive benefits from other Commonwealth, state or local government agencies in addition to the ACNC. These may include obligations or benefits related to:

  • its legal structure (for example, as an incorporated association)
  • how it raises money (for example, if it runs raffles or street collections)
  • the exemptions, concessions or other benefits it may receive from government (for example, certain Commonwealth, state and local government taxes) and
  • what it does (which may apply to specific sectors such as aged care, housing, childcare and education).

Some charities also choose to meet voluntary standards set by professional associations or peak bodies such as codes of conduct or codes of ethical practice.

Charities do not have to be registered with the ACNC to be an incorporated association, cooperative or other legal structure, to access Tasmanian tax concessions or other benefits, or to fundraise in Tasmania.

Legal structures

There are several types of legal structures used by charities. Different obligations apply to each type. A charity's legal structure may affect:

  • its reporting and governance requirements to the government agency that incorporated it
  • its ability to operate outside Tasmania without further registration
  • its eligibility for certain tax concessions.

The types listed here are examples of the most common legal structures, but there are others (such as trusts and unincorporated associations).

Incorporated associations

Some charities in Tasmania are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1964(Tas) (AIA Act) .These are called 'incorporated associations' and have 'Inc.' or 'Incorporated' at the end of their name.

Incorporated associations have a number of responsibilities such as keeping appropriate financial records, following their rules and holding annual general meetings. These responsibilities are regulated in Tasmania by the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading.

Changes to incorporated association reporting

In 2016 there were changes made to the AIA Act which affected the reporting requirements for Tasmanian incorporated associations registered as charities with the ACNC. As a result of these changes:

  • Incorporated associations with annual revenue of less than $250,000 no longer need an audit.

This applies to all incorporated associations, whether they are registered with the ACNC or not.
Incorporated associations with constitutions that refer to the need to prepare audited financial statements may need to review their constitutions and consider any changes they want to make.

  • Incorporated associations registered with the ACNC no longer need to submit an annual return to Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading. They only need to submit an Annual Information Statement to the ACNC.

Incorporated associations that are not registered with the ACNC still have to report to Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading.

  • The Tasmanian Commissioner for Corporate Affairs will still be able to request the information that incorporated associations give to the ACNC.

The changes apply from 1 October 2016.

Tasmanian Consumer, Building and Occupational Services has produced a Factsheet about the amendment to the AIA Act.

Transitional reporting period

To support charities to transition to ACNC reporting requirements, a transitional reporting arrangement will be allowed for Tasmanian incorporated association charities.

2016 reporting period

For medium and large Tasmanian incorporated associations preparing financial reports for the reporting period ending 30 June 2016 (or any later reporting period approved by the Commissioner), if your charity is

  • a non-reporting entity and prepares a special purpose financial statement

you can continue to submit to the ACNC the same financial report that meets the requirements of the Associations Incorporation Act 1964.

2017 reporting period

For the reporting period ending 30 June 2017 (or any later reporting period approved by the Commissioner), if your charity:

  • did not submit a full financial report meeting the ACNC reporting requirements for the 2016 reporting period, and
  • continues to be a non-reporting entity and prepares a special purpose financial statement,

you will need to prepare a financial report meeting ACNC reporting requirements for special purpose financial statements but you do not need to provide 2016 comparative information in the 2017 financial report.

Your charity (and its auditor or reviewer) needs to ensure that reports communicate why it is not providing 2016 comparative information, and that adequate disclosures are made in the notes to the financial statements. Example disclosure: comparative information not included in financial report.

Audit requirements during transitional period

The ACNC requires large charities to provide audited financial statements conducted by an auditor that is either:

  • a registered company auditor, or
  • a firm with at least one registered company auditor member ordinarily resident in Australia, or
  • an authorised audit company.

During the transitional period, you will not be penalised for providing an audit that does not meet the ACNC reporting requirements.

Ongoing reporting obligations apply – 2018 reporting period

Medium and large Tasmanian incorporated associations registered with the ACNC must use accrual accounting when preparing their financial statements and ensure the financial statements meet all ACNC reporting requirements and comparative requirements will apply.

Small incorporated associations (with annual revenue of less than $250,000) do not need to prepare audited financial statements and are not required to lodge their financial reports with the ACNC. However, they must continue to report annually to the ACNC by submitting the Annual Information Statement each year.

What happens is a charity doesn’t report to ACNC or is late with their Annual Information Statement?

The ACNC will provide quarterly updates to the Tasmanian government so that they can monitor compliance and identify charities who, due to non-compliance, are no longer exempt from state reporting.

If an incorporated association registered as a charity with the ACNC does not submit the Annual Information Statement on time, it will need to report to Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading separately.

What didn’t change?

Other obligations a charity has to Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading did not change.

Charities may need to notify Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading of changes to their:

  • Address for service
  • Public Officer
  • Name or
  • Rules.

Charities also need to notify ACNC of these changes.

To find out more about incorporated association obligations in Tasmania, visit the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website or call 1300 65 44 99

Cooperatives

A cooperative is a type of organisation that is owned, controlled and used by its members. There are different types of cooperatives.

Charities that are cooperatives are also regulated by Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading.

As part of a new national law scheme to regulate co-operatives Tasmania passed the Co-operatives National Law (Tasmania) Act 2015.

This enabling legislation incorporates both the Co-operatives National Law (Tasmania) and the Co-operatives National Regulations (Tasmania) into Tasmanian law.

To find out more, visit Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website or call 1300 65 44 99.

Other legal structures

Information about reporting and other obligations for other legal structures is available on these pages:

Fundraising

Fundraising in Tasmania is regulated by two government agencies.

Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading is responsible for registering and regulating organisations conducting fundraising activities. To find out more, visit the Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading website or call 1300 65 44 99.

The Tasmanian Gaming Commission is responsible for regulating any fundraising conducted through authorised games, such as raffles. To find out more, visit the Tasmanian Gaming Commission website or call (03) 6166 4040

The changes to the AIA Act do not change the reporting requirements for charities fundraising in Tasmania that are not incorporated associations registered in Tasmania.

For more information about fundraising, see Fundraising in Tasmania.

State taxes

Charities that operate in Tasmania may also be eligible to receive concessions on some state taxes, including payroll tax, land tax and stamp duty from the State Revenue Office.

To find out more, visit the State Revenue Office website or call (03) 6166 4400.

Local government

Some local government authorities may offer concessions to charities. For more information, contact the local government authority in the areas where the charity operates.

You can search a directory of local government authorities in Tasmania on the website of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Other general obligations

There are a number of other laws that affect the operation of charities in Tasmania covering areas such as employment, trading, occupational health and safety and anti-discrimination. For example, charities are obliged to meet obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (Tas).

Some charities may have responsibilities that are specific to their area of work. For example, charities that provide aged care services may need to meet other obligations or hold accreditations as part of working in this field, and charities that employ teachers may require their staff to comply with the Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania's Code of Professional Ethics.

Related information

A list of other regulators, including contact details, that may affect charities.

Attention - Important information! Please note: this fact sheet is an overview of laws and regulations affecting charities in Tasmania, not a complete guide. For more information about laws and regulations in the Tasmania, please consult the relevant regulatory agencies.

Contact the ACNC

Phone: 13 ACNC (13 22 62)
Email: advice@acnc.gov.au
Mail: Advice Services, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, GPO Box 5108, Melbourne VIC 3001
Fax: 1300 232 569


 

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