Charity size and revenue

Work out which size your charity is because this affects your charity’s obligations to the ACNC.

  • The size of your charity is based on annual revenue.
  • Revenue is the part of income created from the sale of goods or services, or any other use of capital or assets during the ordinary activities of your charity.
  • To calculate your revenue and your charity size, it may help if you use Accounting for good’s charity size calculator (external link).

How does the ACNC define charity size?

The ACNC has three different charity size categories based on annual revenue.

Small charities (annual revenue is less than $250 000)

Medium charities (annual revenue is $250 000 or more but less than $1 million)

Large charities (annual revenue is $1 million or more)

 

How does size affect ACNC financial reporting obligations?

Your charity's obligations to the ACNC depend on whether it is small, medium or large. Size affects your reporting obligations to the ACNC in the following ways:

  Small Medium Large
Annual Information Statement Must submit - Includes 9 financial information questions Must submit - Includes 12 financial information questions Must submit - Includes 15 financial information questions
Financial report Can submit (optional) Must submit1 Must submit1
Cash or accrual accounting Can use accrual or cash Must use accrual1 Must use accrual1
Type of financial statement2
  • Special purpose financial statement (optional) or
  • Reduced disclosure regime general purpose financial statement (optional) or
  • Full general purpose financial statement (optional)
  • Special purpose financial statement (if not a “reporting entity”) or
  • Reduced disclosure regime general purpose financial statement or
  • Full general purpose financial statement
  • Special purpose financial statement (if not a “reporting entity”) or
  • Reduced disclosure regime general purpose financial statement or
  • Full general purpose financial statement
Review or audit No ACNC obligation for review or audit The ACNC requires your financial reports to be either reviewed or audited2 The ACNC requires your financial reports to be audited

1 Unless the charity is basic religious charity or other transitional arrangements apply.

2 The charity constitution/governing document or grant funding agreements may state the type of financial statement the charity must prepare and whether the financial report needs to be reviewed or audited.

How does charity size affect your other obligations?

Other obligations to the ACNC that depend on your charity’s size are:

  • the amount of time your charity has to notify the ACNC of:
    • certain changes, including changes to its legal name, service address, responsible persons and governing rules, or
    • a material error in your Annual Information Statement or financial report
  • the amount of information your charity needs to report in its Annual Information Statement, and
  • the administrative penalties that your charity may have to pay if it does not submit documents on time.

What is income?

‘Income’ is regularly used to describe a number of financial items, for example revenue and other income. In the Annual Information Statement, charities need to answer financial questions that are part of an income (profit and loss) statement. The income statement will generally include income from the ordinary operations of your charity (revenue) and income from transactions that are not part of your charity’s ordinary activities (other income).

What is revenue?

Revenue is the part of income created from the sale of goods or services, or any other use of capital or assets, associated with the ordinary operations of your charity. Revenue is usually shown as one of the top line items in an income (profit and loss) statement.

Revenue can be:

  • grants from government, foundations, private or any other sources 
  • donations, tithes (a particular amount of money that members give to their church), bequests or legacies
  • fees for provision of services
  • sales of goods
  • inflows from fundraising activities or sponsorship
  • interest earned on investments, dividends
  • royalties and license fees
  • in-kind donations that you have included in your accounts (this could include volunteer time, travel, or services such as consulting).

Attention:You need to know! To calculate your revenue and your charity size, it may help if you use Accounting for good’s charity size calculator (external link).

Calculate revenue using the relevant accounting standards issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board. Australian Accounting Standards AASB 118 and AASB 1004 provide technical accounting detail on how to do this.

What is ‘other income’?

Other income is created from transactions that are not part of your charity’s ordinary operations but affect your charity’s profit and loss. On an income (profit and loss) statement items not included in your charity’s calculation of revenue are generally included as ‘other income’.

‘Other income’ can be:

  • gains on the sale of assets (for example, motor vehicles, equipment, real estate, investments, assets that are not part of your charity’s inventory)
  • gains on foreign currency transactions
  • forgiveness of a liability or debt.

Other comprehensive income is not income

Other comprehensive income (OCI) is not part of your charity’s income and is not seen in the income (profit and loss) statement.  OCI movements are identified below the surplus/(deficit) line in a total comprehensive income statement (profit or loss and other comprehensive income) and contributes to the overall financial performance of your charity.  

OCI generally will represent unrealised profits and losses (but not always) and the cumulative balance of OCI is generally found in the equity section of the balance sheet in some form of a reserve.  Small charities generally will not have any OCI because under the ACNC Act they do not need to prepare financial statements in accordance with Australian accounting standards (but they can apply the accounting standards if they want to).  

The most common OCI that charities will have are:

  • revaluations on land and buildings (but your charity does not sell them)
  • changes in the fair value movements in investments (but your charity holds onto the investments)
  • foreign currency translation gains and losses on foreign subsidiaries.

Australian Accounting Standard AASB 101 provides more technical details and examples of OCI.

Attention - Important information! Do not include OCI in the income statement section of the Annual Information Statement.

Charity size change for one reporting period

Sometimes, an unusual event may mean that your charity’s size changes for just one reporting period.  If your charity's size changes and you think that your charity is likely to return to its former size in future reporting periods, you can apply to the ACNC for your charity to continue to be recognised as its former size (and therefore not have to meet the higher reporting obligations of a medium or large charity).



Case study: keeping charity size

Hove Help Centre usually receives an annual revenue of less than $250 000 and is classified as a small charity under the ACNC Act.

Last year the centre had an annual revenue of $240 000. In the current reporting period the centre received a bequest of $500 000. This unique bequest will increase Hove Help Centre’s annual revenue to $740 000. This means the centre will be classified as a medium sized charity for the current reporting period.

Percy Pound, the centre’s financial manager, was concerned that he would have to prepare either reviewed or audited financial reports to submit to the ACNC, as medium charities need to do.

He applied to the ACNC for Hove Help Centre to be recognised as its former size, small. The ACNC approved the application and the centre can continue to notify of changes and report as a small charity for this reporting period.

For future reporting periods, Hove Help Centre will go back to their original annual revenue of less than $250 000 and remain a small charity.

Attention - Important information!If your charity wants to be treated by the ACNC as its former size, submit Form 4D: Apply to keep charity size. Please apply before your reporting obligation is due so we can allow, where applicable, for your charity to report according to its usual size.

Your application needs to provide information on:

  • revenue for the previous reporting period
  • revenue for the current reporting period
  • details of the one-off event that has caused the revenue increase, for example:
    • $500,000 bequest from a patron
    • $4,000,000 capital grant from the Department of Infrastructure to construct a new building
  • projected revenue for the next reporting period, for example a budget or forecast.

More information

See our information on:

External resources

You can also visit: