Charity Regulator To Track AIS Dodgers
Thursday, 5th June 2014 at 11:10 am
The charity regulator, the ACNC, is working with the Australian Tax Office and other regulators to identify charities that have not filed an Annual Information Statement and may no longer be active.
It’s estimated that there could be anything from 5,000-10,000 charities in this category.
The move comes as the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is urging charities not to wait until the last minute to lodge their 2013 Annual Information Statement.
Most charities registered with the ACNC have just over three weeks to lodge their statement, before the June 30 deadline.
“When the ACNC first commenced in December 2012, there was no credible data around registered charities for the public to access. The ACNC Register was initially populated with 56,000 charities that had been given tax exemption status by the Australian Tax Office, but this information was not up-to-date or accurate,” ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said.
“Since then, it has been the ACNC’s priority to build a credible free national database of Australian charities. The ACNC has published a list of over 4,000 charities where it has had mail returned unopened. This is available on the ACNC Register; if these charities cannot be located they will be removed from the Charity Register over the next few months.
“This is a big task and … identifying them will also strengthen the register’s integrity.
“It is a legal requirement that registered charities lodge their Annual Information Statement. Consistent with our regulatory approach, charities that have missed their reporting deadlines will receive final reminders prior to any penalties being applied.
“Charities do need to know that if they fail to lodge their return they could be liable to a penalty and may lose their tax concessions.”
Pascoe said 30,135 charities had already lodged their statement, with most doing it online.
More than 20 per cent have also voluntarily filed their financial accounts at the same time, and more than 22,000 charities have submitted their governance documents to published on the ACNC register.
“Publication of information in the Annual Information Statement serves a number of purposes: first and foremost it is helping the ACNC build Australia’s first free publicly available and credible charity register. Secondly, it is helping to increase the public’s trust and confidence in the charitable sector by providing key information about charities’ work,” Pascoe said.
“Information provided on the AIS is also able to be shared with other agencies to reduce red tape and duplication of reporting for charities.
“This is the first year charities have been required to lodge an Annual Information Statement, and all registered charities with a financial year ending on 31 December 2013 are now required to submit their 2013 statement. Charities with a financial year ending between 30 June 2013 and 31 December 2013 who have not yet lodged are now almost three months overdue.”
The Annual Information Statement asks key information including the charity’s size, who they support and where they operate.
The information is then made available on the ACNC Register, acnc.gov.au/findacharity, and is used in the ACNC’s Charity Passport to share information with other Government agencies as part of the ACNC’s ‘report once use often’ model.
Details of how to lodge the 2013 Annual Information Statement can found at acnc.gov.au/2013AIS or contact the ACNC Advice line on 13 22 62 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.