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Thousands of Charities Go Missing

Thursday, 24th April 2014 at 11:43 am
Staff Reporter
More than 4000 charities across Australia have gone missing - failing to make contact with the charity regulator, the ACNC, since it began registering charities in December 2012.

Thursday, 24th April 2014
at 11:43 am
Staff Reporter



Thousands of Charities Go Missing
Thursday, 24th April 2014 at 11:43 am

More than 4000 charities across Australia have gone missing – failing to make contact with the charity regulator, the ACNC, since it began registering charities in December 2012.

The ACNC has revealed that as many as 4600 charities, including many religious organisations, preschool and parent clubs, trusts and foundations, as well as health related organisations, are now on the missing-in-action list and face losing their charity tax status.

The missing charities are among about 56,000 charities automatically registered with the ACNC based on information from the Australian Tax Office.

“These charities were automatically registered with us based on information provided from the ATO. The ATO had endorsed these charities for charity tax concessions but was not required to maintain an up-to-date register,” Assistant Commissioner at Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission David Locke said.

He said attempts to contact these charities have resulted in unopened mail being returned to the ACNC.

“The ACNC needs to determine whether these charities are still operating. If we do not hear from these charities by 23 June 2014 we will assume they have stopped operating and we will revoke their registration as charities with the ACNC,” Locke said.

“This means that the charities will no longer have access to their charity tax concessions administered by the ATO.

“Obviously this is a significant step, and we don’t want to do this if they are still in existence, so we are asking for public assistance to locate them before doing so.”

There are 115 missing charities listed in the ACT; 1,525 in New South Wales; 92 in the Northern Territory; 986 in Queensland; 401 in South Australia; 128 in Tasmania; 866 in Victoria; and 541 in Western Australia.

In Victoria named charities range from the Homeless Young Person’s Fund based in Glen Iris, an Injured Wildlife Transport Service in Wattle Glen and an organisation called Prisoners Advocate Victoria based in North Melbourne.

In NSW the named charities include Aids Australia, and the Australian Men’s Sheds Association along with the Daniel Allan Remembrance Trust was (originally established in 1994)  and was later changed changed to ART (the Allan Research Trust).

In South Australia the ACNC has not been able to contact up to 20 trusts and foundations along with hundreds of charities such as Australians Donate based in Torrensville and the Intellectual Disability Association of SA.

In Western Australia there are 14 trusts and a number of foundations that have fallen off the radar. Queensland, Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory also have charities listed as missing.

The ACNC is asking the public to help find the charities by searching its lost charities web page to find charities by name, location or ABN.

For charities on the missing list…

1. If your charity is still operating:

  • Download form 3B: Change of charity details from the website, fill it in and send it to the ACNC with a request to be issued with a password. You will then be able to log into the charity portal and complete your 2013 Annual Information Statement and update other details about your charity

  • Read the Manage my charity section of the website to understand the ongoing obligations for registered charities

2. If your charity ceased operating before December 3, 2012:

  • Write to the ACNC confirming when your charity ceased operating and provide evidence of this if possible – for example a notice of deregistration from another regulator.

3. If you charity ceased operating after December 3, 2012:

The latest Facts on Figures on the ACNC website shows that there are 60,311 charities on the register, with 3076 new charities registered by the ACNC.

Anyone with information about these charities can contact with the ACNC by calling the Advice line on 13 22 62 or via  email

Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

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