5,000 charities to get “red mark”

Over 5,000 registered charities will be tarnished with a “red mark” for failing to lodge their 2014 Annual Information Statements (AIS), the Australian Charities and Not-For Profits Commission (ACNC) has announced.

The announcement comes after numerous calls from the not-for-profit (NFP) regulator calling on charities to meet their required reporting obligations or face the consequences. The current statements are now six months past the nominated lodgement date of 31 January 2015.

It is an ongoing annual requirement that charities lodge their statements within six months of the end of the 1 July – 30 June financial year to preserve their charity status with the ACNC and to maintain an accurate listing on the ACNC Charity Register.

Registered charities that fail to lodge their AIS within the correct timeframe will now have their listing noted by a “red mark” of non-compliance.

The register is an important tool that receives hundreds of thousands of views each year from the public, donors and grant makers who can evaluate a charity's work and financial status with a view to volunteering or making a financial donation or grant.

ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM FAICD, said: “The ACNC had a duty to the public to make it clear when charities were not doing the right thing. The ‘red mark’ for those charities that are six months overdue in their reporting helps the public identify charities that are not meeting their obligations.”

Charities that fail to submit their statements for two consecutive years can face losing their charity status. Recently the ACNC revoked the status of over 5,500 charities that had not completed both the 2013 and 2014 AIS, which means they can no longer access commonwealth charity tax concessions.

Phil Butler GAICD, sector leader, NFP at the Australian Institute of Company Directors said the uncertainty surrounding the future of the ACNC earlier this year may have caused some charities to put their reporting duties on the backburner.  

“The current government has determined that the abolition of the ACNC is not a priority, therefore the regulator is to remain for the foreseeable future.

“Therefore charities should ensure that they meet their compliance duties and submit their statements as soon as possible. I encourage any charities encountering difficulties with the Annual Information Statements to contact the ACNC as it is there to help with the process.”

Charities can check their reporting due date by viewing their charity’s entry on the ACNC Charity Register at www.acnc.gov.au/findacharity