NSW charities to enjoy a ‘report once’ system

Registered charities incorporated as associations in NSW will have their administrative burden cut, thanks to a new agreement signed by NSW Fair Trading and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

The agreement means that about 4,000 charities across the state, which are incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009, won’t have to waste time and money filling out the same forms twice.

Instead, they only have to submit their annual financial reports to the ACNC which will then securely share the data with NSW Fair Trading.

NSW Fair Trading regulates some of incorporated associations’ responsibilities, such as keeping appropriate financial records, following their rules and holding annual general meetings. Because of this, incorporated associations must still notify NSW Fair Trading of any changes to their name, details or rules.

The new reporting arrangements will be available to NSW associations from 1 October 2018 and will apply to charities with a financial year that ends on or after 30 June 2018.

The ACNC’s 2018 Annual Information Statement has been updated to include extra questions to collect information on behalf of NSW Fair Trading.

However, in order to take advantage of the new streamlined reporting arrangements, charities must answer all the additional questions listed in this statement. If they choose not to answer the questions, they will need to continue to submit an annual statement to NSW Fair Trading.

As a result of these changes, ACNC-registered NSW incorporated associations that are medium or large will need to ensure that the financial reports meet all the ACNC reporting requirements.

To support medium and large charities whose reports don’t currently meet the Australian Accounting Standards, the ACNC has established a two-year transitional reporting arrangement. Information on this is available on its website.

The new reporting arrangement is in line with Victorian, South Australian, Tasmanian and ACT reporting arrangements for charities.

‘Most Australian registered charities now have streamlined reporting arrangements and I hope to be able to make further announcements in the coming months,’ says ACNC Commissioner, Dr Gary Johns. 

His comments follow the recent call by the ACNC legislation review for fundraising reform in Australia and for a single national scheme for the charity sector to be set up, requiring a referral of powers from the states to the commonwealth.

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