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  • DGRs required to be a registered charity

    Legislation amended in September 2021 requires non-government deductible gift recipients (DGRs) to be a registered charity from 14 December 2021.

    Charity registration is an existing requirement for the majority of general DGR categories. The amendment extends this requirement to the remaining DGR categories, except for ancillary funds or DGRs that are specifically listed in tax law.

    These changes form part of the DGR reform announced by the government in December 2017. They are designed to improve the consistency of regulation, governance and oversight of DGRs in order to uphold community confidence and trust in the sector.

    For more information see Deductible gift recipient reform.

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    Requirements for DGR endorsement

    From 14 December 2021, a requirement for DGR endorsement is that all funds, authorities or institutions must be one of the following:

    • a registered charity
    • an Australian government agency
    • operated by a registered charity or an Australian government agency.

    The requirement to be a registered charity or an Australian government agency does not apply for ancillary funds or DGRs listed by name in tax law. See Types of DGRs.

    Amended DGR categories

    Amendments passed into law in 2021 extend the requirement to be registered as a charity to an additional 11 general DGR categories.

    You need to register as a charity if you are a non-government organisation that is endorsed under one of the updated general DGR categories. If you applied for, or were endorsed before 14 December 2021, check if you are eligible for transitional arrangements.

    If you are already a registered charity, you do not need to do anything further. You need to continue to meet your obligations as a charity and for DGR endorsement.

    Updated general DGR categories

    From 14 December 2021 the following general DGR categories need to be registered as a charity:

    • Public fund for hospitals.
    • Public fund for public ambulance services.
    • Public fund for religious instruction in government schools.
    • Roman Catholic public fund for religious instruction in government schools.
    • School building fund.
    • Public fund for rural school hostel building.
    • Approved research institute.
    • Public fund for persons in necessitous circumstances.
    • Fire and emergency services fund.
    • Public fund on the Register of Environmental Organisations (REO).
    • Public fund on the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO).

    Transitional arrangements

    Transitional arrangements provide additional time to meet the new requirements.

    Check if your organisation is eligible for the following transitional periods:

    • Automatic 12-month general transition period – giving you until the 14 December 2022 to become a registered charity.
    • Additional three-year extension in limited circumstances.

    Three-year extension

    Eligible organisations can apply to us for a three-year extension if they need more time. If approved, you will have until 14 December 2025 to become a registered charity.

    How to apply

    To apply for the three-year extension, you need to:

    • check if your organisation is eligible
    • complete and submit a form to us before 14 December 2022. This form will be made available after 14 December 2021.

    When considering your application for the three-year extension, we will assess it against defined criteria. These criteria will be outlined in a Legislative Instrument. For updates on the status of this Legislative Instrument, see Deductible gift recipient reform.

    If your application is refused and you disagree with our decision, you have the right to have the decision reviewed. See Dispute or object to an ATO decision.

    Eligibility for transitional periods

    Eligibility for transitional periods is dependent upon your organisation's DGR category or application date:

    If your category isn’t listed here and you have any questions phone us on 1300 130 248 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

    Environmental or Cultural organisations

    All existing DGRs listed on the Register of Environmental Organisations (REO) and the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO) on 14 December 2021:

    • are automatically provided with a 12-month general transition period (no application required)
    • have until 14 December 2022 to become a registered charity
    • can apply to the ATO for a three-year extension, if you need more time.

    Applications to REO and ROCO before 14 December 2021

    Applications not approved by the relevant ministers before 14 December 2021 are not eligible for the 12-month general transition period, or the three-year extension period.

    If you have a specific question about the progress of your application and approval by the relevant minister contact:

    • Register of Environmental Organisations at reo@awe.gov.au or phone (02) 6274 1467
    • Register of Cultural Organisations by email to roco.mail@arts.gov.au or phone (02) 6271 7108

    Other updated general DGR categories

    If your organisation applied for, or was endorsed under, one of the updated general DGR categories before 14 December 2021 you:

    • are automatically provided a 12-month general transition period (no application required)
    • have until 14 December 2022 to become a registered charity
    • can apply to the ATO before 14 December 2022 for a three-year extension, if more time is needed to meet the requirements.

    If your organisation is listed on the Register of Environmental Organisations (REO) or Register of Cultural Organisation (ROCO) see Environmental or Cultural Organisations.

    Applications for DGR endorsement made after 14 December 2021

    Organisations who submit an application for DGR endorsement after 14 December 2021 must register as a charity before:

    • the ATO will consider DGR endorsement
    • an application for listing on the ROCO or REO is progressed.

    Registering as a charity

    Before applying to be registered as a charity, refer to the ACNC website for:

    To apply to have your NFP registered as a charity, you need to log in to the ACNC Charity Portal and complete the application form – see Register as a charityExternal Link.

    As part of your application, you will need to provide copies of your governing documents in either a Word or PDF file format. Image files may cause issues and may delay your application.

    Revoking DGR status

    To maintain your DGR endorsement, you are required to register as a charity or be operated by a registered charity or an Australian government agency.

    If you do not register as a charity within the transitional period applicable to your DGR, your endorsement will be revoked. If revoked, your organisation is:

    • no longer entitled to receive tax-deductible donations or gifts
    • required to remove tax-deductible status from their website or other materials
    • required to distribute surplus gifts and donations to an eligible DGR.

    We will write to you to inform you of the date your DGR endorsement is revoked. If you are dissatisfied with our decision, you can lodge an objection. For more information refer to Review your DGR endorsement.

    If you have any questions about DGR endorsement or the three-year extension, phone us on 1300 130 248 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

    See also:

      Last modified: 17 Sep 2021QC 66805