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Straight from the source – October 2022

Last updated 5 October 2022

‘Time and tide wait for no man.’

Daylight savings kicked in on the weekend, and I simply can’t seem to recover from that lost hour. While all our Apple devices clicked over at 2:00 am on Sunday, the clocks in the car and the kitchen required some manual intervention. Changing these got me thinking about how quickly time is passing as we resume our post-pandemic lives.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend Philanthropy Australia’s Annual Conference and I’d like to share my thoughts. The theme was For the Love of Humanity: People, Place and Planet. Right from the get-go, this captured my attention because what else is more important? Taking the time to reflect on this theme is not only timely but necessary.

The conference had over 980 delegates in attendance and admittedly it was a bit overwhelming after almost 3 years of virtual engagements. There was a mix of speakers and plenty of opportunities to build connections. One constant inclusion was the Indigenous voice of our First Nation’s people. They were featured in all the sessions highlighting some of the amazing work they do but also the challenges they face. From an ATO perspective, I’m canvassing Indigenous not-for-profits and their representatives to understand how we can better support them as our conventional channels are not tailored to their needs.

One of the main takeaways from the conference, apart from the desire to double philanthropy over the next 8 years, is that social impact and impact investment underpin the future of philanthropic structured giving. This will not only drive philanthropic investment into the future, but also shape the roles of not-for-profits, how they’re structured, governance, reporting and transparency.

To this end we're focused on ensuring not-for-profits operate within the ambit of the law and access tax concessions appropriately. While our efforts are mainly focused on prevention and support, we’re improving how we identify activities that may require further attention and working closely with various stakeholders across the sector and government. There are some areas that all not-for-profits should be aware of now, before time slips away.

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) reforms

If you’re a non-government DGR you’ll need to register as a charity with the ACNC.

From 14 December 2021, charity registration is required for all non-government DGRs except ancillary funds or organisations specifically listed in the tax law. While the detailed information can be accessed on our DGR web pages, if you’re affected you need to be aware of 3 things:

Eligible not-for-profits can apply for a three-year extension to register as a charity to maintain their DGR status. If approved, they have until 14 December 2025 to register as a charity with the ACNC.

Not-for-profits that don’t meet these new requirements or haven’t applied for a 3-year extension by the required date, will no longer be entitled to DGR endorsement and will have their status revoked.

If you need help, or have any questions, phone us on 1300 130 248 between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Not-for-profits already registered as a charity with the ACNC aren’t required to do anything, however, you should ensure your details are up to date and that you continue to meet your ACNC and ATO obligations.

Self-assessing income tax exemption

If you self-assess income tax exemption, you should review your entitlement and make sure your details are up to date.

From 1 July 2023, not-for-profits that self-assess income tax exemption and have an active Australian business number (ABN) will be required to lodge an annual self-review return. The first return will need to be lodged for the 2023–24 income year, which means the earliest anyone will be required to submit a return is 1 July 2024.

The return is not an income tax return but rather a form containing the information you would ordinarily use for self-assessing eligibility for income tax exemption on a yearly basis. The Not-for-profit Stewardship Group met in September to explore the baseline structure that may inform the development of the return. It was agreed that as a minimum, the form needs to satisfy 3 elements:

  1. Entitlement to income tax exemption.
  2. Basis for entitlement (category).
  3. Whether all requirements are being met.

ACNC launches free governance short courses

Finally, my colleagues in the ACNC have asked me to plug the launch of The Governing Charities online learning programExternal Link. This is a free program consisting of short courses designed to benefit those seeking to improve their leadership and governance. This is a brilliant initiative and while the program is primarily aimed at Australian registered charities, some courses and content will be of interest to all not-for-profits. So, take the time to have a look or share it with a colleague.

Every day I’m inspired by the ordinary and extraordinary people that support the not-for-profit sector and community. Each of us should make time to contemplate Philanthropy Australia’s theme For the love of Humanity: People, Place and Planet and the contribution we make.

Stay safe and enjoy Spring.