Registered charities ran out of time to submit their Annual Information Statements for the reporting period of 1 July to 30 June 2016 at the end of January 2017. Heavy penalties will apply for charities who missed the deadline.
Brisbane commercial lawyer and charity law expert Greg Moroney said charities needed to be aware of their charity’s reporting deadlines and obligations. The reporting dates set by the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) to lodge on-line statements fall at different times for different charities. Reporting dates depend on a charity’s own reporting period and are, generally, due six months after the end of the charity’s reporting period.
“Failure to meet the ACNC obligations may result in serious consequences ranging from penalties, enforceable undertakings and, in extreme cases, registrations may be revoked resulting in loss of income, tax exemptions and a red mark being placed on the Charity Register,” he said.
Mr Moroney, a Special Counsel of Brisbane firm Bennett & Philp Lawyers, said non-compliance can also mean charities face the possibility of deregistration and the onerous processes and delays involved in having their charitable status re-instated.
“In one extreme case, a health and medical charity the Bennett & Philp Lawyers Charities and Not-for-Profits Team guided through the re-registration and tax status compliance requirements has found their 32-year-old charity in limbo for many months awaiting the determination of the ACNC.
“The charity’s committee members have been advised, on several occasions, that re-registration applications do not have the same priority as new charity registrations and that the process can take months,” he added.
On the positive side, data prepared by ACNC from the Annual Reporting Statements includes information about the Australian charity sector, including:
- Income and revenue, sales, membership fees and end user spend;
- Government grants;
- Donations and bequests, and
- Volunteer numbers and statistics.
Mr Moroney said the ACNC Australian Charity Report provides resources for the charity sector, philanthropists, academia, government bureaucrats and the media.
The 2015 Australian Charity Report is the third census of Australia’s charity sector since its inception in late 2012, the result of a Federal Budget initiative.
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