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Charities & Not-For-Profits Law in Australia

ACNC and the Advancement of Religion

Posted in Compliance, General, Tax Exemptions & DGR Status

ACNCCharities registered with the ACNC which solely pursue purposes for the advancement of religion must ensure that the correct corresponding “sub-type” of entity (i.e. advancement of religion) has been confirmed with the ACNC before 3 December 2013.

In accordance with the Charities (Consequential Amendments & Transitional Provisions) Act 2013 from 1 January 2014 there will be 14 possible sub-types of charity:

  1. Advancing Health;
  2. Advancing Education;
  3. Advancing Social or Public Welfare;
  4. Advancing Religion;
  5. Advancing Culture;
  6. Promoting Reconciliation, Mutual Respect and Tolerance between Groups of Individuals that are in Australia;
  7. Promoting or Protecting Human Rights;
  8. Advancing the Security or Safety of Australia or the Australian Public;
  9. Preventing or Relieving the Suffering of Animals;
  10. Advancing the Natural Environment;
  11. Purposes Beneficial to the General Public and Analogous to the Other Charitable Purposes;
  12. Advancing Public Debate;
  13. Institution whose Principal Activity is to promote the Prevention or the Control of Diseases in Human Beings; and
  14. Public Benevolent Institution.

If the only corresponding sub-type of charitable entity is No. 4 (Advancing Religion), it is essential that this is confirmed with the ACNC before 3 December 2013.  This is to ensure additional charity tax benefits associated with being a religious charity are correctly applied.

There is no need to re-notify the ACNC if your religious charity has already notified the ACNC that its subtype is the advancement of religion. We recommend you check the ACNC register to ensure that your religious charity is correctly registered.  This can be done at www.acnc.gov.au and follow the tab “Find a Charity”.

If you have not updated the ACNC as to your charity’s sub-type or the sub-type is incorrectly listed on the ACNC register, it is important that you confirm your religious charity sub-type before the deadline to continue receiving your tax benefits.

You can notify the ACNC of your charity’s sub-type by:

  • phoning 13 22 62;
  • emailing advice@acnc.gov.au;
  • completing Form AA (Transitional Arrangements); or
  • submitting your 2013 Annual Information Statement before 3 December 2013 (if you have a 30 June reporting period).

We note that most charities who solely select a charitable purpose that is the advancement of religion will often also be a Basic Religious Charity (BRC).  There is no corresponding deadline or requirement to notify the ACNC if your charity wishes to be considered as a BRC, however we recommend notifying the ACNC of this intention at the same time as clarifying the corresponding sub-type.

It is important that you log on to www.acnc.gov.au and search the register to check what details are currently held by the ACNC for your charity.

Please contact Bill d’Apice or Anna Lewis of this office if you have any queries or if you would like us to notify the ACNC on your behalf.