Associations benefit from state red tape reduction but must now lodge with the ACNC

Associations in South Australia and Tasmania will soon benefit from red tape reduction, in the future only having to lodge financial reports with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) and not with state regulators. Currently, the ACNC uses its transitional powers to exempt registered charities (including associations) from lodging financial reports with the ACNC if they are required to be lodged with a state regulator.

South Australia

This change was made with the passing in the South Australian Parliament on 24 May 2016 of the Statutes Amendment (Commonwealth Registered Entities) Bill 2016. The main changes relate to associations (charities) registered with the ACNC and include:

  • No longer being required to submit financial information to their state regulator. They will simply file their Annual Information Statement with the ACNC.
  • No longer needing to apply for a fundraising licence in South Australia, nor having to file an annual return to the state government.

This will be a significant reduction in time and resources for South Australian-based charities, as well as other charities that fundraise in South Australia.

The Bill is expected to be operative from 1 January 2017.

Tasmania

The changes were passed in the Tasmanian Parliament on 2 June 2016 via the Associations Incorporation Amendment Bill 2016. They received Royal Assent on 21 June 2016 and the main changes include:

  • Tasmanian incorporated associations registered with the ACNC will no longer be required to provide duplicative reporting to their state regulator, and
  • Harmonising the threshold for a ‘small’ charity in Tasmania with the ACNC requirements, i.e. raising the audit threshold from $40,000 to $250,000 revenue, resulting in approximately 3,000 registered charities with annual revenue of less than $250,000 will no longer be required to have their financial statements audited.

The legislation is scheduled to come into effect on 1 October 2016.

The ACNC have indicated that they will work with the relevant South Australian and Tasmanian government agencies to develop information sharing systems and plain language guidance for charities.