SA Streamlines Charity Reporting
6 December 2016 at 10:30 am
South Australia has become the first state to enable streamlined reporting for charities registered under the national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) under legislation which came into force on Friday.
In a move welcomed by the sector, the changes to the Collections for Charitable Purposes Act 1939 (CCP Act) have eliminated the need for charities licensed in South Australia to report to both Consumer and Business Services (CBS) and the ACNC.
Charities registered with the ACNC will now only need to report their annual financial information once – to the ACNC.
If registered under the ACNC Act, charities can elect to notify CBS of their intention to act as a collector in South Australia as part of their registration. These charities operating in South Australia will still need to comply with the South Australian charities code of practice and will be listed on the CBS charities register.
Under other changes, prescribed associations such as religious or sporting organisations who elect to register (or continue to be registered) with the ACNC will, from 1 January 2017, no longer be required to also lodge financial statements with CBS.
Currently in South Australia, the CCP Act regulates fundraising activities and requires charities collecting or attempting to collect money or goods for certain charitable purposes to be licensed by CBS.
Until now, charities were required to lodge financial informational annually for CBS to fulfil legislative requirements of providing disclosure statements about their fundraising activity.
Many charities are also incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1985 and have reporting requirements under that Act.
The Statutes Amendment (Commonwealth Registered Entities) Bill 2016 was introduced into the South Australian parliament in March, passed on 24 May 2016 and came into effect on 1 December 2016.
SA Consumer and Business Services Minister John Rau said it was a positive move for the sector and would make it easier for charities to meet their responsibilities and mandatory reporting requirements to government agencies.
“I am pleased that South Australia is one of the states that is leading the way in this space and can be an example to other states on how sharing information can reduce red tape and achieve greater compliance,” Rau said.
“The changes will not prevent a charity from being licensed under the CCP Act if not registered under the ACNC Act. However registration under the ACNC Act is mandatory to access Commonwealth taxation concessions and other Commonwealth benefits.”
The CEO of the Fundraising Institute Australia, Rob Edwards, told Pro Bono Australia News that while the new law did not apply outside South Australia, it had national implications because it demonstrated that state governments were prepared to harmonise and review their fundraising regulations.
“We have already seen NSW question whether they should still engage in fundraising regulation. If the states are prepared to align with the ACNC on reporting requirements, we can press ahead with support for proposals to change Australian consumer law to include fundraising with increasing confidence that they will result in reduced regulation,” Edwards said.