Factsheet: Other Commonwealth benefits and exemptions available

What if my organisation is not a charity?

If your organisation is a not-for-profit but not a charity (such as a not-for-profit sporting club), it may still be eligible to receive some of the concessions, benefits or exemptions listed below, if it meets any other requirements for eligibility. Many of these benefits would also be available to organisations that are neither charities nor another type of not-for-profit. If you are unsure, you can find out more under the listed benefits and exemptions, below, or seek independent legal or other professional advice.

Why register with the ACNC?

Registration with the ACNC is voluntary. However, charities must be registered with the ACNC to apply for charity tax concessions from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Even if you do not choose to apply for Commonwealth tax concessions, there may be other good reasons to register. If your charity is registered with the ACNC, specific Commonwealth concessions, benefits or exemptions may be available, provided your charity meets all other requirements that may apply to that concession, benefit or exemption. This page sets out a number of these benefits and exemptions.

If your charity currently receives (or wants to receive) the concessions, benefits or exemptions listed below, it may no longer be eligible for these if does not remain registered. If your charity is able to be registered, but is not, it may also not be eligible for these concessions, benefits or exemptions.

Who is affected?

This will affect you if your organisation:

  • falls within the legal meaning of charity and you're considering whether it should register, or
  • is currently registered as a charity but you are considering opting out or asking to have its registration cancelled.

If you provide certain financial services to a charity, there may be different implications for you depending on whether these services are for a registered charity or an unregistered charity (see 'Financial service providers' below).

Commonwealth concessions or other benefits.

If your organisation is a charity registered with the ACNC it may be eligible to:

  • receive concessions or other benefits under Commonwealth laws, or
  • to provide certain services that allow eligible people who receive these services access to certain benefits.
The concessions and benefits include the following:
  • Classification Board fee waiver – A registered charity may be able to get a waiver from fees for applications to the Classification Board or the Classification Review Board, available at the discretion of the Director or Convenor (as long as other requirements are met)
  • Customs import duty concession - There may be duty concessions for any goods donated to your registered charity by an overseas person, organisation or company.
  • Financial assistance for disability services - If they are eligible services, registered charities may be able to apply for financial assistance for the provision of certain disability services (including employment and advocacy) or research and development activities related to disability, without Ministerial approval.
  • Social security benefits and allowances - If your registered charity:
    • offers paid employment to people with disabilities, and this employment is approved as 'sheltered employment', then these employees may be eligible to receive a mobility allowance (if they meet all other requirements)
    • co-ordinates or provides residential care to young people and is an approved care organisation, then these young people may, in certain circumstances, attract family tax benefit and, in some cases, receive a double orphan pension
    • employs live-in care workers, these workers if eligible, may receive fringe benefit tax (FBT) exemption for accommodation, in relation to the income test for the Commonwealth Senior Health Card, family assistance payments and payments under the Paid Parental Leave scheme. For more information about actual benefits available, visit the Department of Human Services website.

Exemptions from Commonwealth laws

If your organisation is a charity registered with the ACNC it may be exempt from certain requirements under Commonwealth laws if it engages in the following activities:

  • providing document exchange services to an employee or member – registered charities may be able to use services other than Australia Post
  • playing sound recordings – only registered charities can play sound recordings in a club or guesthouse without breaching copyright
  • making unsolicited calls – only registered charities can contact numbers listed on the Do Not Call Register
  • sending unsolicited emails – only registered charities can send unsolicited (spam) emails
  • broadcasting – only registered charities are exempt from the regulation of re-transmissions, where these re-transmissions are to obtain or improve reception in a small community 
  • discrimination – registered charities may be exempt from breaching discrimination law if they are acting according to their governing rules, which allows them to provide charitable benefits to persons with a particular protected attribute (for example, disability, age or sex)
  • anti-competition or exclusive dealing behaviour – only registered charities may be allowed to enter into agreements that prevent competition or that are exclusive dealings.

Providers of financial services to charities

If you collect or hold cash donations for or on behalf of a charity not registered with the ACNC, you may now have new obligations as a 'reporting entity' under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth).

If you insure the property of a religious organisation that is not registered with the ACNC, you may now have new obligations as a 'cash dealer' under the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth). You will also need to consider obtaining an authorisation under section 12 of the Insurance Act 1973 (Cth), if you are not already authorised to carry on insurance business under that Act.

If you think you may be affected by the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 or the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988, contact the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC).

If you think you may be affected by the Insurance Act, and need an authorisation, consider seeking your own legal advice or contact the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) for more information.

More information

For more information:

 

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


 

Return to all Factsheets