Registering a Not For Profit

The requirements for registration will vary depending on the type of organisation you want to register.

On this page:

Registering a charity

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is the independent national regulator of charities. Registration as a charity is voluntary. However, your organisation must be registered with the ACNC before it can receive any charity tax concessions from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and to be eligible for other Commonwealth concessions, benefits or exemptions available to charities.

Is my organisation regulated by the ACNC?

The ACNC only regulates charities. All charities must be a Not For Profit but not all Not For Profits are charities. In Australia, there are an estimated 600,000 Not For Profits. Of these, about 56,000 are recognised as charities for tax purposes.

Visit the Who can Register page of the ACNC website where you can follow a step-by-step process to ascertain if your Not For Profit is a charity that can register with the ACNC.

If your organisation was endorsed as a charity by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on 3 December 2012, it will be automatically registered with the ACNC

If your Not For Profit is not a charity then it is not regulated by the ACNC and does not have to register.

Still not sure if you organisation is eligible to register as a charity?
The ACNC website provides detailed information about what it means to be a charity that will help you decide whether your organisation is eligible to register with the ACNC.

Incorporation of an association

Register an incorporated association with Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV). The Become an incorporated association page on the CAV website lists prerequisites, and gives instructions on how to incorporate and how to submit an application. You’ll also find model rules for your association and a checklist of documents you need to submit with your application.

Not sure if you should be registering as an incorporated association?

The Should your club incorporate page on the CAV website has information about aspects of incorporation that you might consider before making the decision. Considerations include membership, Not For Profit status, legal status, statutory obligations, costs, disputes, contracts, agreements and grants.

Note: If your Not For Profit will be operating in other States and Territories as well as Victoria, you should also apply to be an Australian Registered Body with ASIC

Registering a company limited by guarantee

Register a company limited by guarantee with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The ASIC website provides detailed information about how to register, including pre-requisites, your rights and obligations and where to get more information. Registering with ASIC means your organisation can operate anywhere in Australia.

Not sure if you should be registering a company limited by guarantee?

The Starting a company page on the ASIC website has information to help you decide if a company or a business structure is right for your organisation.

Registering a co-operative

Co-operatives are registered through Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV). Their website gives information on how to name a co-operative, the requirements for rules and a disclosure statement, as well as guidelines for a formation meeting and how to lodge an application.

Not sure if you should be registering as a co-operative?

The CAV website provides a definition of a co-operative, including the difference between distributing and non-distributing co-operatives. This page also includes some questions to help you decide if a co-operative is the right type of organisation for your Not For Profit.

Note: Under the new Co-operatives National Law, co-operatives will be able to operate across state borders without obtaining separate registration.

The National Law currently applies in Victoria and New South Wales, and is expected to commence in other states and territories during 2014 and 2015.

Registration of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island Corporation

Register an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island Corporation through the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC). The ORIC website has step by step information on how to register an indigenous corporation.

Registering with ORIC means your organisation can operate anywhere in Australia.

Not sure if you should register as an indigenous corporation with ORIC?

The Registration options page on the ORIC website compares different registration options for indigenous organisations. Information includes a comparison table that compares key features of different Commonwealth, state and territory incorporation laws and highlights the benefits of incorporation under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

Australian Business Number (ABN)

Your organisation will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to register for GST and claim GST credits, register for PAYG withholding (if you have employees), engage with investors, apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for deductible gift recipient status or talk to the ATO about taxes and tax concessions

Apply for an ABN on the Australian Business Register (ABR) website or visit the ATO website for information on how to apply and what you need to consider before you make an application.

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