Addressing charity registration for Indigenous charities

Wednesday, 4 June 2014
Victor Lovett
Caitlin Patterson

In December 2013 the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNPC) released a Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement on Indigenous Charities (CIS). 

This CIS provides guidance on how charity law applies to particular issues facing Indigenous charities. For example, the CIS distinguishes the historic view that an Indigenous organisation providing benefits to members or beneficiaries who are blood related cannot be a charity. The Charities Act 2013 (Cth) also changes the public benefit test for native title and traditional owner organisations.

The CIS has a paper attached which sets out the reasoning for the ACNC view of the common law. This paper assists community organisations and their advisors on how best to approach the legal and registration issues they may encounter when applying for charity registration by the ACNC or endorsement by the ATO. We will present the reasoning for discussion to better equip community organisations into the future.