ACNC calls on public for help

Despite the numerous call-outs and warnings for charities to adhere to legal obligations, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) says more charities will risk being revoked.

The national charity regulator is turning to the public to help contact over 300 missing Australian charities that are at risk of losing their status. The ACNC has made multiple attempts over a two and a half year period to contact the charities, with hundreds of letters returning unopened, emails bouncing back and disconnected phone numbers.

ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe, said the charities had missed out on important notifications, increasing the risk that they will have their charity status revoked for not meeting their reporting obligations two years in a row. She is encouraging the public to check the ACNC website to see if any charities they are associated with are listed. "Many of these charities are likely still operating," she added.

The ACNC has a duty to the public to make it clear when charities are 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. "To date, we have revoked or removed over 9,000 charities from the Charity Register, largely because they were no longer operating or had not met their reporting obligations for two consecutive years," said Pascoe. "If we are not able to contact these charities, we will move to revoke their charity status."

For a charity to preserve its charity status with the ACNC and maintain an accurate listing on the ACNC Charity Register, they have an ongoing annual requirement to lodge statements within six months of the end of the 1 July – 30 June financial year. All registered charities have an obligation to notify the ACNC of changes to contact details. These changes must be notified within 28 days for large and medium size charities and 60 days for smaller ones. Registered charities that fail to lodge their Annual Information Statement (AIS) within the correct timeframe will now have their listing noted by a "red mark" of non-compliance.

If a charity does not submit an AIS for two consecutive years, the ACNC will progress towards revoking the charities registration. This will also result in the Australian Taxation Office removing their entitlement to Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

The list of registered charities the ACNC is trying to contact can be viewed at: acnc.gov.au/whereareyou.