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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 Deductible gift recipient 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.

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    Requirements for DGR endorsement

    From 14 December 2021, a requirement for DGR endorsement is that a fund, authority or institution must be one of the following:

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

    Amended DGR categories

    Most general DGR categories are required to be a registered charity or an Australian government agency. Amendments passed into law in 2021 extends this requirement to an additional eleven general DGR categories.

    Check your organisation meets the requirement

    DGRs that were endorsed under one of the updated general DGR categories before 14 December 2021, need to check they meet the new requirement for endorsement.

    No further action is required if your DGR:

    If your DGR is not one of the above, your organisation needs to register as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) before 14 December 2022. Check the transitional arrangements to confirm if you are eligible for an extension of time.

    Other changes affecting your endorsement

    If your organisation has changed its main purpose, activities or governing documents you may no longer be entitled to DGR endorsement.

    Check the continued eligibility of your organisation to be endorsed as a DGR, by completing a review of your DGR endorsement. If no longer entitled, you need to notify us.

    Updated general DGR categories

    From 14 December 2021 the following updated general DGR categories require non-government organisations 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 OrganisationsExternal Link (REO)
    • public fund on the Register of Cultural OrganisationsExternal Link (ROCO).

    Transitional arrangements

    DGR endorsement requirements apply from 14 December 2021.

    DGRs that are already endorsed on 14 December 2021, as well as certain applicants with a DGR application pending, are eligible for transitional arrangements. Transitional arrangements provide additional time to meet the new requirements.

    Eligibility is dependent upon your organisation's DGR category or application date. You need to check if your organisation is eligible for the following transitional periods:

    • automatic twelve-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 up to 14 December 2025 to meet the new eligibility requirements for DGR endorsement.

    If your organisation applies for a three-year extension, we will assess your application using defined criteria that are outlined in a Legislative InstrumentExternal Link. We will consider if your organisation:

    • has applied to us for a three-year extension before 14 December 2022
    • has made material changes to its purpose or activities that affect ongoing entitlement to DGR endorsement
    • has previously had a charity registration refused or involuntarily revoked by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

    We will also consider if your organisation:

    • is likely to be eligible for charity registration with the ACNC
    • has applied for charity registration with the ACNC
    • has taken reasonable steps toward satisfying the requirements for charity registration, including giving information or a document required by the ACNC Commissioner
    • is restructuring and needs more time to distribute remaining assets and income to a DGR with similar purposes.

    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 January 2022.

    If your application is refused and you disagree with our decision, you have the right to dispute or object to our 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 non-government 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 us 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 non-government 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 us 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

    Non-government organisations that submit an application for DGR endorsement after 14 December 2021 must register as a charity before:

    • we 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 charityExternal Link, you need to log in to the ACNC Charity Portal and complete the application.

    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.

    Notify us if DGR endorsement is no longer required

    If your organisation is no longer eligible for DGR endorsement or it no longer requires it, you need to notify us. Complete and submit the Not-for-profit advice request (PDF, 121KB)This link will download a file form to ask us to cancel your DGR endorsement.

    We will contact you to discuss the request and issue you a written notice with the date that your DGR endorsement has been cancelled.

    After DGR cancellation, your organisation will:

    • not be entitled to receive tax-deductible donations or gifts
    • be required to remove tax-deductible status from your organisation's website or other materials
    • need to arrange for surplus income or assets to be distributed to another eligible DGR.

    When we revoke 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.

    Next steps

    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.

    Start a charityExternal Link on the ACNC website also has useful information.

      Last modified: 09 Dec 2021QC 66805