Tax and finance
This section contains legal information on setting up, managing and reporting on your organisation's financial and tax situation. It provides information about tax concessions and exceptions, as well as what financial records need to be kept and who is responsible for them.
*NOTE* The law regulating charities has changed and there is a new charities regulator - the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The information on this page has NOT yet been updated to reflect the changes. For more information about the changes, go to the PilchConnect page on the ACNC here.
Not-for-profit community organisations are required to comply with both Commonwealth and state tax laws.
In general, your community organisation may need to pay tax on things like the income it receives, and GST on goods and services supplied, or stamp duty on a purchased property.
Some not-for-profit community organisations are entitled to exemptions, concessions or rebates in relation to certain taxes. An 'exemption' is where the organisation does not have to pay the tax at all, a 'concession' is where the organisation pays a reduced rate of tax, and a 'rebate' is where an organisation can claim back some tax paid.
For more information about some of the specific taxes your organisation may have to pay (and the exemptions or concessions that may be available) click on the following pages:
There are other tax benefits that not-for-profit community organisations may be eligible for. For example, organisations that apply for and are endorsed as deductible gift recipients (DGR) are entitled to receive tax deductible gifts and contributions. See:
It is best to get your organisation's tax issues right at the beginning. This is because you may need to include special wording in your organisation's constitution (or rules) to be eligible to apply for tax concessions or endorsements. Also, the way you set up an organisation (ie. defining who are members) may also have an impact on tax liability, as there are laws that allow membership income to be treated as tax exempt in certain circumstances.
You may need to seek specialist legal or accountancy advice on tax issues when establishing your organisation. For general information on setting up a community organisation, go to www.pilch.org.au/gettingstarted.
For information about legal duties of a community organisation in relation to overseeing the finances of the organisation, see:
Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC)
Australian Taxation Office (ATO)