Yesterday I was invited to provide an update on the strategic direction of the ACNC at CPA Australia’s annual not-for-profit sector conference in Sydney. This was my second time presenting at the forum, and a great deal has changed since I spoke in 2018.

In later 2018 we launched the new and improved website, Charity Register, and Charity Portal – which will make it easier for charities to meet their obligations now and in the future (more on that below).

Our new system has also presented us with an opportunity to capture and display better information about the work of charities. This was a key theme of my presentation.

I believe that the best way to achieve a more engaged and informed public is to provide better information in a language common to both donors and charities. And the charity ‘program’ is that language.

We are hoping that our new system will allow us to build a Charity Register search function that will provide every interested person the opportunity to find charity programs offered for the same purpose, to the same beneficiaries, and in the same place.

It will help connect donors with charities and drive informed giving.

While we have made progress on this project, there is still much more work to be done. I will continue to provide updates in this column and at events throughout the year.

Are you ready to submit your 2018 Annual Information Statement?

The 2018 Annual Information Statement due date is nearing for many charities. The majority of registered charities use a standard 1 July to 30 June reporting period, which means their Annual Information Statement is due by 31 December each year. Due to the changes in our IT infrastructure, I exercised my discretion to provide an extension, so these charities now have until 31 March.

Thank you to the 12,000 charities that have already submitted their annual reporting. In doing so you have demonstrated your commitment to transparency and accountability.

For those that are yet to submit, I encourage you to finalise your reporting as soon as possible. Charities are required to submit an Annual Information Statement, and for medium and large charities an annual financial report as well, to maintain their registration with the ACNC.

To complete the 2018 Annual Information Statement, simply log in to the ACNC Charity Portal at charity.acnc.gov.au, select the charity from the ‘Charities’ table, and then click ‘Manage reporting.’

If you have not logged into the new Charity Portal yet, we have step-by-step instructions available on our website.

And finally, if you require any assistance with completing the 2018 Annual Information Statement form, our helpful guide and checklist are available online.

ACNC website outage next week

The ACNC’s website and Charity Portal will be temporarily unavailable from 5:30pm AEDT on Tuesday 12 March until 1:30am AEDT on Wednesday 13 March, as we complete further upgrades.

I appreciate that this may disruptive to some users, particularly with the 2018 Annual Information Statement due soon, so my sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused.

While the outages can be inconvenient, they ensure the stability and speed of our new and improved system. You will undoubtedly enjoy a smoother submission process compared to prior years.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding.

Upcoming webinars to assist charities and not-for-profits

The next free ACNC webinar will focus on charities and corporate partnerships. It is scheduled for Wednesday 20 March.

Developing a corporate partnership is a viable way for a charity to raise extra funds and boost volunteer numbers and support. However, partnerships need to be considered carefully, and charities need to ensure they still meet their obligations to the ACNC.

Key topics will include defining what a corporate partnership is, the starting points for charities wishing to embark on a partnership journey, choosing and approaching a suitable partner, how to maintain and build on a partnership and winding up and exit points.

You can register for the webinar on the ACNC website.

Our colleagues at the ATO are also running two webinars in the coming weeks that may appeal to some charities.

The first, Fringe Benefit Taxes (FBT) for NFPs, will be held on Tuesday 26 March. It will cover key issues relating to FBT for not-for-profits, including how to prepare and lodge an FBT return and the concessions and caps relevant to not-for-profits.

The second webinar, to be held on Tuesday 4 April, and is designed to help school building funds to meet their compliance obligations.

To register for the ATO webinars, follow the links below:

All ATO and ACNC webinars are free of charge, so I encourage you to attend.

Best wishes,

The Hon. Dr Gary Johns