On 22 August 2018, the report Strengthening for Purpose: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Legislative Review 2018 was released by a review panel who were asked to review the current charities and not-for-profit legislation.

The review panel made a number of recommendations including:

  • that the law be amended to provide that certain not-for-profits with annual revenue of $5m or more must be registered with the ACNC under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 to be exempt from income tax and to access Commonwealth tax concessions
  • the Australian Consumer Law should be amended to clarify its application to charitable and not-for-profit fundraising and a mandatory Code of Conduct be developed. Responsibility for the incorporation and all aspects of the regulation of companies which are registered entities should be transferred from ASIC to ACNC, except for criminal offences and
  • the development of a single national scheme for charities and not-for-profits.

By way of background, on 20 December 2017, the Hon Michael Sukkar MP commissioned the Review of the ACNC legislation. The purpose was to formulate and make recommendations on appropriate reforms to ensure that the regulatory environment established by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 and Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Consequential and Transitional) Act 2012 (ACNC Acts) continues to remain contemporary.  This includes ensuring that the ACNC Acts deliver on their policy objectives and that they do not impair the work of the ACNC Commissioner to deliver against the objects of the ACNC Acts.

The final report makes 30 recommendations and has four parts:

  • Objects, functions and powers of the ACNC
  • The regulatory framework which deals with governance, reporting, basic religious charities, secrecy, advocacy, criminal misconduct and going beyond charities to include other not-for-profit entities
  • Red tape reduction which deals with fundraising, making the ACNC a one stop shop and the need for a national scheme and
  • Additional amendments including a call for review of the interaction between the Corporations Act and ACNC Acts.