I had to get this clear for a couple of clients, so I thought I’d share it in case it helps anybody else.
First up, unless you are registered with the ACNC – check here – then you are not legally a charity, so you don’t have to worry about ACNC reporting requirements at all. (Mind you, if you thought you were a charity, and were therefore exempt from tax, but you are not on the register, then seek professional advice quickly.)
- an Annual Information Statement (AIS 2014) and
- an annual financial report.
What’s required of you with these two things depends on
- whether or not you are
- a ‘basic religious charity’ or
- registered with the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), and
- your size.
Basic religious entities
Check here to see if you are one of these. Care: even if you declared yourself to be one in AIS 2013, you should look at the link – according to the ACNC[i] a number of charities gave themselves this status incorrectly.
Whatever their size, basic religious entities only need to submit AIS 2014 (i.e. not a financial report.)
If you an Indigenous Corporation, you will be registered with ORIC. You can check on the left hand side here. In this case you don’t have to submit either AIS 2014 or a financial report to the ACNC.
Your size is measured by your annual ‘revenue’:
- Small: less than $250 000
- Medium: greater than $249 999 but less than $1 million
- Large: $1 million or more
Not to get too technical, but ‘revenue’ is all income except ‘gains’ such as the profit on the sale of an asset. If you are near a cut-off, get your accountant to do the calculation. (By the way, if you worried about an unusual transaction moving you into a higher category for just one year, don’t: you can apply to the ACNC to stay down a rung.)
You only have to submit an AIS 2014. By 31 December 2014. (Or, if have successfully applied to the ACNC for a ‘substituted accounting period’, within six months after the end of that period.)
You can submit a financial report if you want to.
As well as an AIS 2014 (due as above), a medium charity has to submit a financial report. This report has to include:
- Financial statements
- Notes to these financial statements
- A declaration by the governing body about 1. and 2.
You can choose whether it is audited or reviewed. (A review is cheaper but gives a lower level of comfort that there are no material misstatements in the report. Get your auditor to explain more or read here. )
With the financial report, you must follow the Australian Accounting Standards unless ‘transitional reporting arrangements’ apply.
These arrangements might apply to you if
1. Last year no law required you to comply with the Australian Accounting Standards, and you didn’t produce statements intended to comply with such standards.
In this case you need to provide
- no more financial information than is in AIS 2014
- a review of this information
- A ‘responsible entities declaration’.
2. Last year you reported on a cash basis. (Why, with revenue of at least $250,000, I don’t know!)
In this case you can continue this practice for 2014.
3. You submit a financial report to a state or territory regulator.
In this case you can submit the same report to the ACNC.
4. You lodge a financial report with ASIC that met their requirements.
In this case you will not need to change anything when you submit a report to the ACNC.
5. You provide ‘statements, reports or other documents’ to other Australian government agencies.
In this case, you may ask the ACNC (no form found) to treat this as meeting your charity’s requirement to submit the AIS 2014 Annual Information Statement and financial report.
The same as for medium charities – see above – except that an audit, not a review, is required.
The ACNC Commissioner says that it’s time to start preparing your AIS 2014. You can find yours on the Charity Portal. If you need help with it, or the financial report (if required), particularly if you can’t afford professional help, we’d love to hear from you at our charity, Business by The Book (www.businessbythebook.com.au).
[i] By email, 9.09.14.