The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has issued a warning that it will revoke the registration of close to 200 charities it believes are no longer operating.
Despite ongoing warnings and multiple attempts, the ACNC has not been able to reach these charities during its nearly three years of operation. Letters have been returned unopened, emails have bounced and phone numbers have been disconnected.
An additional 8,000 charities are also at risk of revocation if they did not submit overdue reporting, according to the ACNC.
Directors of charities are being urged to ensure that they check that their organisations do not fall into this category before 11 November 2015.
"Directors have a responsibility to ensure that the charity is complying with the legislation" said Phil Butler GAICD, NFP sector leader at the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
He added that "the ACNC are there as a 'light-touch' regulator and will provide all the assistance possible to assist that organisations are complying. However at the end of the day, they must act if charities are deliberately not complying"
Butler's advice is simple – "check the ACNC website to make sure your charity isn't listed, and if it is make contact with the ACNC urgently."
Susan Pascoe AM FAICD, ACNC commissioner, said revocation was necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the charity register, Australia's first searchable, online database of Australia's registered charities.
"We are continuously reviewing the data on the charity register, which is available free of charge, to ensure the public have access to accurate and up-to-date information. Members of the public expect that only charities that are active and compliant with their obligations remain registered with the ACNC," said Pascoe. "The ACNC takes a firm but fair approach to compliance, but will not tolerate persistent failure to meet obligations. To maintain registration with the ACNC, charities with overdue 2014 Annual Information Statements should submit their outstanding reports as soon as possible."
"The ACNC takes a firm but fair approach to compliance, but will not tolerate persistent failure to meet obligations. To maintain registration with the ACNC, charities with overdue 2014 Annual Information Statements should submit their outstanding reports as soon as possible."
Grace Fava MAICD, founder and CEO of Autism Advisory and Support Service said, as a not-for-profit charity, they have a responsibility to meet their ACNC obligations.
"We have an obligation to be transparent with any monies that is entrusted to us, via donations or grants. This money is for the purpose of assisting those in need. We also have an obligation to remain transparent and provide all the necessary documentation to the ACNC and other funding bodies or stakeholders."
For more information visit ACNC's charity register.
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