(image source: Advanced Collections Technology)
More than 4,000 charities risk sanctions including fines of up to $4,500 and ultimately having their status revoked after failing to submit their Annual Information Statements before the due date.
In its latest announcement, the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission said that registered charities which report on a standard financial reporting year (1 July until 30 June) needed to lodge their statement by January 31 this year.
In a statement, ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM thanked what she said were the vast majority of organisations which submitted their statements on-time, but encouraged those who are yet to do so to act.
“My thanks to the majority of charities who lodged their 2016 Annual Information Statement on time,” she said, adding that the members of the community would now have accurate and up-to-date information about them.
“However, those charities that have yet to submit their 2016 Annual Information Statements are encouraged to do so now, to avoid penalties, or potentially revocation of charity status.”
Pascoe said Annual Information Statements were an important way be which members of the community could obtain up-to-date information about the organisations whom they chose to support and of ensuring transparency and accountability within the charity sector.
Since the ACNC’s inception in 2016, registered charities throughout Australia have been required to submit AIS statements to the Commission on an annual basis outlining their activities, basic financial information and (optional in the case of small charities) financial reports.
Penalties for not doing so include fines of up to $4,500 along with lose of the right to display the ACNC’s Registered Charity Tick.
Ultimately, those charities which fail to submit two AIS’s face deregistration.
With this being the fourth such year that charities have been required to submit AIS statements, Pascoe said organisations had now had several years in which to familiarise themselves with reporting requirements.
She said the ACNC forwarded multiple reminders each year, whilst the charity regulator also offered information and guidance on its web site.
Pascoe said the regulator aimed to be ‘fair yet firm’ but had been sparing in its application of financial penalties.
“Issuing financial penalties to charities is not something we take lightly,” she said.“However, if deemed appropriate we will penalise those who are wilfully avoiding their reporting obligations.”