Registered Charities

Registration guidelines

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To apply to register an individual organisation you will need:

  1. an application form
  2. an Officer Certification Form - one copy for each of your officers
  3. a copy of your rules including all amendments.

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Charitable purpose - you will need to specify:

For more information see the Charitable purpose information page.

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Your rules

For more information, see the charity rules information page.

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What does it cost to register?

Application for registration is free of charge however you will be required to furnish an Annual Return each year at a cost of $76.67 for paper based Annual Returns and $51.11 for online returns. Charities with a gross annual income below $10,000 do not pay an Annual Return fee.

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What are the benefits to my organisation of registration?

As a registered charitable entity, your organisation can be reasonably sure it will be eligible for tax exempt status. It will enjoy improved public trust and confidence in its activities, and receive, if you wish, support and guidance from the Commission on good governance and management.

You can display your unique registration number on promotional and identification material and quote it over the telephone to prospective donors or funders as proof of your legitimacy.

Potential donors and funders can research the register and make informed decisions about who to support.

For more information, read Benefits for Charities.

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What information do we need to give the Commission?

The Commission has developed a checklist to show the information an organisation needs in order to register.

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What happens once we are registered?

Once a charitable organisation has registered with the Commission, it is issued with a unique registration number. Organisations are required to disclose this number at the request of a member of the public, if they are invited to make a donation over the phone or Internet.

This requirement is an important safeguard and will be useful in providing the public with a high degree of confidence that an organisation is undertaking activities that are both charitable and in the public interest.

Charitable organisations are required to notify the Commission if certain core information, such as the organisation's charitable purpose, has changed during the year.

This requirement will ensure that all information that is held on the Charities Register is as up to date as possible. Late filing fees will apply if the Commission is not notified of these changes within a specified time.

Organisations also need to submit an Annual Return that provides basic financial data such as its income, outgoings and net worth.

Collecting this data provides valuable information for the Commission, the Government, and the charitable sector on funding sources and trends within the sector.

Charitable organisations are also required to assist the Commission with any investigations that it undertakes in performance of its statutory monitoring obligations. It is an offence for any charitable organisation to fail, without reasonable excuse, to supply the Commission with information and documents that have been requested during an investigation.

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How do we register with the Commission?

You can register online, or by completing and posting hard copy forms to the Charities Commission.

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Is registration compulsory for all organisations?

No, but charitable organisations wanting to retain or gain tax exempt status on the grounds of charitable purpose will need to register.

Also, charities wishing to use the term 'registered charitable entity', 'charitable entity' or any other term implying registration must register.

The Charities Act 2005 includes penalty provisions for organisations that say they are registered when they are not.

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