Changes for charities in South Australia
As of 1 December 2016 changes to the Collections for Charitable Purposes Act 1939 (the Act) reduced the administrative burden on charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC).
The changes make it easier for charities to meet their responsibilities and mandatory reporting requirements.
Benefits of ACNC registration
Benefits for charities, who also choose to be registered with the ACNC include:
- reporting to only one government department, thereby reducing duplication. You are no longer be required to report to or lodge financial statements with Consumer and Business Services (CBS)
- time and cost savings – Charities with a revenue of less than $250,000 will no longer have an obligation to submit audited financial reports
- tax concessions and other exemptions (may be available).
When you register with the ACNC you must also complete the online notification form to advise CBS of your registration with the ACNC.
For further information regarding changes to the Act please read our FAQs – Changes to charities and prescribed associations operating in SA (PDF 60KB).
Who needs a licence to collect
If you are an organisation that intends to collect for a charitable purpose as defined by the Act, you must hold a Collections for Charitable Purposes Licence (CCP Licence).
Please note that charities registered with the ACNC are automatically taken to hold a licence in South Australia.
Under the Act charitable purposes include collecting to afford relief or assistance to sick, disabled, destitute persons or providing welfare services to animals. View a complete definition of charitable purposes under the Act.
The definition of ‘collecting’ includes collecting , or attempting to collect, money or property wholly or partly for a charitable purpose or obtaining or attempting to obtain money by the sale of any disc, badge, token etc. View a complete definition of collecting under the Act.
Application for CCP licence in SA only – not registered with the ACNC
To apply for a CCP licence in SA, complete and lodge the online application using the Collections for charitable purposed application /notification form.
Notification of intent to act as a collector in SA – registered with the ACNC
If you are going to register with the ACNC you must notify Consumer and Business Services (CBS) of your intention. Select ‘Notification of intent to act as a collector in SA (registered with ACNC)’ when you fill out the Collections for charitable purposed application /notification form.
Some organisations may be charitable however do not require a CCP licence as their purpose is not one of the charitable purposes defined in the Act. Examples may include schools as their primary purpose is education, environmental groups whose main focus and primary purpose is the protection of the environment or religious organisations which have been established for religious purposes.
Online renewals for existing licence holders
A new online renewal has been introduced. Complete the Collections for charitable purposed application /notification form to either:
- renew an existing SA licence – not registered with the ACNC
- notify of your intent to act as a collector in SA – registered with the ACNC
- lodge a fundraising income and expenditure statement.
The online form will prompt you to upload and submit your financial statements for the last statement period to CBS.
Please note: Hard copy renewal application forms are no longer sent to you by CBS.
If you are registered with the ACNC, and have notified CBS, you are not required to renew.
Collections for charitable purposes in South Australia
The Collections for Charitable Purposes Act 1939 (‘the Act’) provides for the control of persons soliciting money or goods for certain charitable purposes. CBS is responsible for this licensing system.
A Collections for Charitable Purposes Licence does not authorise the conduct of fundraiser lotteries. Further information regarding lotteries can be found in the Lotteries section on this website.
Every charity has a purpose. But how do you know that your donation is having a positive impact on that charitable purpose? The Government has come up with these five easy steps to help you answer this question.
Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation
Charities licensed in South Australia are required under the Code of Practice to disclose:
- Whether a collector is a volunteer or paid
- The collector’s name or unique identifier
- The name of the licensed charity and/or collection agent
Ask to see the disclosure information sheet
Charities licensed in South Australia are required to have an information sheet outlining key information including contact details, purpose of funds collected and information about collection agreements and policies.
A face-to-face collector should be able to provide you with this information sheet. Telephone collectors and websites should also be able to direct you to a copy of the information sheet accessible from the charity’s website.
Check the organisations name and charitable status
There are many charitable organisations. Some you may or may not have heard of. The first step is to check to see whether they are licensed or registered. Charities may appear on one or both of the following charitable organisation registers:
- The South Australian Government Charities website – this is a register of charities licensed in South Australia to collect donations under the Collections for Charitable Purposes Act.
- The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) register – this is an Australian wide register of charities. Registration is not mandatory, however this register includes those charities where your donation will be tax deductable.
A special warning about online campaigns
There are online scammers that may pretend to be a charity or steal the identity of a licensed charity to scam money from you. To be safe, you can confirm the charity’s official website address on one of the registers above. Avoid sending your personal information by e-mail, wiring money to a person you do not know, or donating money via a link contained in e-mail.
Find out about the charity
First-hand information about the work of a charity, either because the donor volunteers or has received services from the charity, can provide confidence. Nevertheless, it does not hurt to do some additional research about a charity, especially if you are contemplating a larger donation. Both the South Australian Government Charities website and the ACNC register are great starting points.
The South Australian Government Charities website provides useful information about the amounts collected by the charity, the cost of collection and the amount available to the charitable purpose. While the ACNC register provides comprehensive details of the charity including office holders, governing documents and audited financial reports.
The ACNC has prepared some fact sheets that can help you learn more about the charity:
Don’t be afraid to contact the charity! Often some direct questions will give you the answers that provide you with confidence to donate.Often donors giving large amounts may want to specify exactly how it is used or want to have regular reports from the charity. While many charities may wish to meet these requirements, be aware that special requirements involve charities using resources that would otherwise be applied to the charitable purpose.
The Act requires that the minister publish on a website the contact details of a licence holder and the fundraising income and expenditure statement.
- Cutting red tape for South Australian charities – media release
- Reminder to verify charities seeking donations for Pinery bushfire – media release
- Federal cuts to hurt charities – media release
- Crackdown on unlicensed pet welfare charities – media release
- Charity food box scam under investigation – media release
- New charity code of practice in effect – media release
- Cancer & Bowel Research Association Inc – media release
Collections for charitable purposes overview
The Collections for Charitable Purposes Act 1939 regulates fundraising activities conducted for a ‘charitable purpose’ as defined in the Act.
The definition of ‘charitable purpose’ includes:
- the affording of relief, assistance or support to diseased, disabled, sick, infirm, incurable, poor, destitute, helpless, or unemployed persons, or to the dependants of any such persons.
- the relief of distress occasioned by war, whether occasioned in South Australia or elsewhere.
- the affording of relief, assistance, or support to persons who are or have been members of the armed forces of Australia or to the dependants of any such persons.
- the provision of welfare services for animals
- the provision of, or assistance or support to the provision of health services (within the meaning of the Health Care Act 2008 or research in the field of health or such health services.
Charitable organisations that are not collecting for a charitable purpose as described above do not require licensing and therefore will not be found on the Charities list, eg – religious organisations, environmental groups and educational institutions.
Any charity seeking access to Commonwealth taxation concessions and other Commonwealth benefits and concessions, including deductible gift recipient (DGR) status, is required to be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.
Fundraising activities for a ‘charitable purpose’ include:
- door knock appeals
- online fundraising
- donations to clothing bins
- sales of goods at secondhand shops
- seeking bequests
- badge days
- public appeals
- film nights
Disclosure requirements by charities
Consumer and Business Services administers the Collections for Charitable Purposes Act 1939 to protect the public interest in the area of fundraising by non-profit groups by providing disclosure requirements for charitable collections (section 6 licence).
Charities are required by legislation to lodge annual ‘Fundraising Income and Expenditure Statements’ to provide the public with information regarding charities and collection agents’ financial performance in relation to charitable collections and entertainment. However, if a charity is registered with the Commonwealth Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) they will not be required to lodge financials with CBS.
The Charities list contains a comprehensive list of all charities and includes licence and financial details.
A Section 6 licence is required pursuant to the Collections for Charitable Purposes Act 1939 for any person acting as a collector that wishes to:
- collect or attempt to collect any money or property
- obtain or attempt to obtain money by the sale of any disc, badge, token, flower, ribbon or other device
- obtain or attempt to obtain a bequest, devise or other grant of money or property for a charitable purpose
- sell or attempt to sell a ticket for admission to entertainment and the proceeds or part of the proceeds are for a charitable purpose.