Charities Face Penalties and 'Red Mark'
Tuesday, 28th October 2014 at 9:17 am
An estimated 7000 charities face penalties and having a “red mark” against their name for not filing their 2013 Annual Information Statement, the national charity regulator has warned.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is reminding registered charities whose 2013 statement is overdue they must lodge one by 31 October.
The due date for the 2013 Annual Information Statement was 31 March 2014 for charities with a financial reporting year, and 30 June 2014 for charities with a calendar reporting year. For all other charities they have six months from the end of their reporting period to submit their 2013 Annual Information Statement.
More than 44,000 charities have already lodged their 2013 Annual Information Statement with the ACNC.
ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe commended those charities who had submitted their 2013 Annual Information Statement already and said the regulator will publish an ‘overdue’ statement on charities’ entries on the ACNC Register and issue penalties to charities who are found to be deliberately not meeting their obligations.
“By completing the Annual Information Statement, charities are supporting public trust and confidence in the sector. Charities are also providing the ACNC the core information for their Charity Passport which we can then provide to other Government agencies to activate the ‘report once use often’ capability,” Pascoe said.
“The information provided on the Annual Information Statement is used to populate the Charity Register – a freely available online resource of data on charities. There have been more than 500,000 views of the Charity Register providing a point of visibility and credibility for registered charities.
“Those charities who have not submitted their 2013 Annual Information Statement will have a red mark against their entry from early November 2014. They are putting themselves at a relative disadvantage compared with charities who have kept up to date with reporting requirements.”
The Commissioner said the ACNC actively communicates with the sector about their reporting obligations as well providing a range of advice and education resources to help charities understand and meet their obligations. In addition, the ACNC sends charities reminder letters prior their due date and warns them after the due dates have passed, which assists most charities in meeting their reporting obligations.
Pascoe said the uncertainty surrounding the ACNC’s future may be one reason why some charities have not realised they are still legally obliged to file their Annual Information Statement.
“We know some charities believe the ACNC has already been wound up. However, the first ACNC Repeal Bill is still sitting in the House of Representatives and the second intended Bill, which will outline the replacement arrangements, is yet to be introduced in Parliament. Until the second Bill is passed by both Houses and receives Royal Assent, the ACNC is obliged to fulfil the objects of the ACNC Act,” she said.
Pascoe said filing the Annual Information Statement was a simple online process, which takes on average no more than 20 minutes to complete. Future Annual Information Statement forms will be pre-populated with key information from the 2103 statement.
The ACNC has developed a bulk lodgement form that has proved particularly useful for corporate trustees administering multiple trusts, or the denomination administration offices that look after a number of religious charities. The form, which is an Excel spreadsheet, allows charities to submit multiple 2013 Annual Information Statements at once, without having to enter the same information repeatedly.
More information can be found here.