Hundreds of NFPs to Lose Charity Status
17 July 2014 at 12:10 pm
The charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, has published a notice of intention to revoke the charity status of 255 Australian charities after attempts to track them down have failed.
In April it was revealed that as many as 4600 charities across Australia had gone missing – failing to make contact with the charity regulator, the ACNC, since it began registering charities in December 2012.
Those charities included in the ‘missing in action’ list are religious organisations, preschool and parent clubs, trusts and foundations, as well as health related organisations.
“The ACNC has had no contact from these charities and has been unable to locate or contact them. Accordingly the ACNC intends to revoke the registration of the listed charities on the basis that they are no longer operating,” ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said.
“We have found that some charities are no longer operating; for others their contact details are simply out of date, even though they may have contacted the ACNC, for example, to ask a question.
“There are also a number of charities for whom we have the correct address for service, but whose mail is being returned unopened, suggesting some charities are not recognising mail from the ACNC.
“The ACNC needs to determine whether these charities are still operating. If we do not hear from these charities by 30 September 2014 we will assume they have stopped operating and we will commence a process to revoke their registration as charities with the ACNC. After being revoked the charities will no longer have access to their charity tax concessions, which are administered by the ATO.
“It is important that we hold accurate information about registered charities so that donors, funders and members of the public can be assured that charities are well regulated and the information available on the ACNC Charity Register (acnc.gov.au/findacharity) is up to date.
“When the ACNC was established, the Australian Taxation Office transferred the records of over 56,000 charities to us. The ATO was not required to maintain an up-to-date register of charities, and much of the information was out of date. Since its establishment the ACNC has spent considerable resources verifying information from all registered charities.
“At present the ACNC is searching for over 3800 registered charities using a variety of means such as newspaper advertisements and its own publication.”
The ACNC has urged people with information about the endangered charities to get in touch with the ACNC to ensure that the charities that are continuing to operate are not incorrectly revoked.
“If we are not able to get in contact with these charities, and they do not submit a 2013 Annual Information Statement (their first reporting obligation to the ACNC), then their charity status will be revoked,” Pascoe said.
The move to revoke charity status comes as the charity regulator itself faces an uncertain future with Federal Legislation to abolish it set to return to the Senate in August. Earlier this month the Government also released an options paper for the replacement of the ACNC.
Read the list of 255 charities facing deregistration at the ACNC website.