Regulator Revokes 246 “Missing” Charities
19 August 2014 at 12:24 pm
The national charity regulator, the ACNC has now revoked the charity status of more than 240 Australian charities it has not been able to locate after months of investigation and public warnings.
The 246 charities include religious organisations, preschool and parent clubs, trusts and foundations, as well as health related organisations.
The charities are the first group of an estimated 4000 to have their registration progressively removed and noted on the national Charity Register by the ACNC.
The ACNC says their revocation will also result in the loss of access to Commonwealth charity tax concessions, in the event they are still operating and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will be notified of the revocations.
In July the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission published a notice of intention to revoke the charity status of 255 Australian charities after attempts to track them down have failed.
“The ACNC has been unable to locate or contact these charities despite an exhaustive search. Accordingly, the ACNC has revoked the registration of these charities on the basis that they are no longer operating,” ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said.
“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 national ACNC Charity Register (acnc.gov.au/findacharity) is up to date.”
Pascoe said the ATO transferred the records of more than 56,000 charities to the ACNC when the regulator was established in December 2012.
“The ACNC has since focused on verifying the information of these charities as no previous agency had been required to maintain an up-to-date register of charities.
“The 246 charities were identified from approximately 6000 organisations whose mail from the ACNC has been returned unopened.
“The ACNC has undertaken extensive efforts to locate and identify whether these charities are still operating, from sending mail, internet and register searches and making phone calls, to working with peak bodies, government agencies and other regulators and the media to get the message out there that we have been trying to contact these charities. Further, these charities had failed to lodge a 2013 Annual Information Statement,” the Commissioner said.
Pascoe said the efforts of a small number of ACNC staff dedicated to searching for the original 6000 “lost” charities had produced excellent results.
“The research by our staff identified 220 charities that had ceased operating before the ACNC was established in December 2012. These organisations were removed immediately from the Charity Register as an administrative correction, as they should never have been transferred to the ACNC.
“A further 1300 charities have since been located and their details updated.
“Charities that have had their charity status revoked by the ACNC, but are still operating are encouraged to contact the ACNC immediately, and provide the necessary information to help the ACNC restore their registration promptly."
The ACNC says the next list of charities to be revoked will be published by the ACNC in October.
Read the list of the 246 deregistered charities at the ACNC website