ACNC Hunting 400 Missing Charities
9 December 2014 at 10:54 am
Another 400 charities are in danger of losing their status with the national charity regulator for failing to make contact with them.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is seeking public assistance in helping to contact 404 organisations it has not been able to locate before their charity registration is revoked.
The ACNC yesterday published a notice of intention to revoke the registration of the organisations as part of the Commission’s project to ensure the integrity of information on the national Charity Register and to identify more than 2,000 organisations not in contact with the national regulator.
So far, more than 1,500 of the 2,000 ‘missing charities’ have been revoked after an extensive search by the ACNC failed to find any ‘proof of life’.
The latest group of charities have until 19 January 2015 to contact the ACNC and lodge their 2013 Annual Information Statement to retain registration.
Of the 404 charities:
19 are based in ACT
114 in NSW
7 in the Northern Territory
66 in Queensland
31 in South Australia
6 in Tasmania
82 in Victoria
79 in Western Australia
ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said the project to clean up the Charity Register began earlier this year with the regulator searching for around 6,000 missing charities.
Since then, the ACNC has been able to account for around 4,000 charities who have updated their contact details, have confirmed they were no longer operating, sought voluntary revocation, or were identified by the ACNC as not being required to be on the Register.
Pascoe said the regulator had not had any contact with 404 charities in almost two years, and they have not responded to multiple letters and calls from the Commission. Similarly, the ACNC has not been able to find any ‘proof of life’ of many on the list through open data searches.
“There may be many reasons why these charities are ‘missing’. In many cases, charities have decided to operate under a different name or ABN, or have merged with another charity, but have not advised us of this,” Pascoe said.
“The aim of this exercise is not to revoke the charity status of legitimate charities that are still operating. We need to ensure that every organisation on the Charity Register is still functional and the details we have are correct. This allows us to maintain the integrity of the Charity Register so it remains a valuable tool for the public.
“If your charity is on our missing list, you need to get in contact with us and let us know you are still operating. Each time we have published the list and the notice to revoke, we have had a number of charities contact us and update their details.”
Pascoe said when the ACNC had identified charities it believed to be inactive, the Commission tried to locate individuals who may be able to confirm this.
The Commission also checked the records of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, State regulators, the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, as well as asking the Australian Tax Office to confirm if their records indicated whether the charity was active from a tax perspective.
“The ACNC also works with peak bodies to try and get confirmation of charities that have wound up. In addition we have been supported by local media in trying to locate charities,” Pascoe said.
“This painstaking approach ensures the ACNC has done everything we can to confirm their existence, and to ensure the information on the publicly available national Charity Register is accurate.”
The Charity Register contains the names of all registered charities in Australia, and includes details of their activities, areas of operation and size of the organisation. The Register allows potential donors to check charities’ credentials before donating time or money.
The list of charities which are currently missing can be found at acnc.gov.au/whereareyou