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Other registrations for not-for-profits

The licences, permits and non-tax registrations your not-for-profit (NFP) organisation may need to operate.

Last updated 31 October 2021

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission registration

Charities must be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) before we can endorse you to access charity tax concessions.

Different tax concessions are available for charities that also register with the ACNC as a particular subtype of charity, such as a public benevolent institution or a health promotion charity.

To be eligible to be registered as a charity with the ACNC, your organisation must meet all of the following conditions:

  • be a charity
  • have an Australian business number (ABN)
  • comply with the governance standards in the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Regulation 2013
  • not be included in a written decision made by an Australian government agency, judge or magistrate that lists it as engaging in or supporting terrorism or other criminal activities
  • otherwise be eligible to be registered.

Certain organisations cannot be registered as a charity with the ACNC – for example, political parties, government entities, individuals or partnerships.

For information about charity registrations, visit Link

Registering your business name

A business name is simply a name or title under which a person or entity conducts a business.

Generally, your organisation will need to register a business name with the Australian Securities & Investments Corporation (ASIC) if you carry on a business or trade within Australia.

Exceptions to this rule include if the organisation is either:

  • a corporation and its operating name is the same as its corporate name
  • a partnership and the name is the same as all of the partners' names.

To apply for a registered business name you will need to have applied for or obtained an ABN.

Registered companies and organisations with an Australian registered body number (ARBN) can register their business name when they register for an ABN – go to Register your new business.

Other organisations, including those that already have an ABN, can register a business name by visiting Link

State and territory government registrations

Some organisations need licences to operate. These are usually issued by your state or territory government. Most states have a small business department that can tell you what licences you need and how to get them such as fund-raising or gaming licenses.

Taxes and duties that may be levied by state and territory governments include:

  • stamp duty (or duty in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia)
  • payroll tax
  • land tax.

As the requirements for these taxes and duties vary between states and territories, organisations should seek clarification from their local state or territory revenue office. Enquiries about state and territory taxes should not be directed to the ATO.

States and territories also have their own laws regulating the fundraising activities of NFP organisations.

See also

Council permits

You may need a council permit to operate your organisation, for example to use a building for a specific purpose, or sell food or dangerous goods. Check any requirements with your local council.

Director identification number

How your organisation is structured will determine if the organisation's directors will need to apply for a director identification numberExternal Link (director ID) from Australian Business Registry Services.

All directors of a company, registered foreign company or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation will need a director ID.

Directors of a registered Australian body such as an incorporated association that is registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and trades outside the state or territory in which it is incorporated, will also need a director ID.

To find out more, see who needs to apply and whenExternal Link.