20/07/2020 - 12:00

Red tape reduced for charities

20/07/2020 - 12:00

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Charity licences no longer have an expiry date and not-for-profits have less reporting requirements, under new changes to Western Australia’s Charitable Collections Act.

Red tape reduced for charities
Lanie Chopping says the less charities spend on compliance and administration costs, the more funds will be available for charitable purposes.

Charity licences no longer have an expiry date and not-for-profits have less reporting requirements, under new changes to Western Australia’s Charitable Collections Act.

Licences for charities used to be renewed every three years, but will now be continuous, on the condition the charity complies with annual reporting and other obligations.

Consumer Protection and the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission also updated their memorandum of understanding to share more information between the two organisations.

From the 2020 financial year, most WA charities will no longer need to submit annual financial statements to both agencies as the ACNC will now share that information.

If a charity’s annual revenue is under $250,000, the financial statements do not need to be audited or reviewed.

In a statement, the agencies said the changes would simplify application process and reporting requirements while removing duplication of compliance for charities.

Consumer Protection commissioner Lanie Chopping said the red tape reductions have been welcomed by the sector but those in need of assistance will benefit the most.

“The less charities spend on compliance and administration costs, the more funds will be available for the charitable purpose,” Ms Chopping said.

“These reforms are a significant step forward in harmonising charity laws throughout Australia and reducing the regulatory burden on the sector which deals with federal and various state and licensing agencies.

“The changes in the law won’t change the high level of scrutiny of organisations that collect donations and we will continue to ensure that funds are used as donors intended, which is important for the confidence of the community as well as the reputation of the sector.”

ACNC commissioner Gary Johns said reducing unnecessary regulation for charities was one of its main objectives.

VisAbility chief executive Elizabeth Barnes welcomed the move and said the changes allowed the organisation to cut down on reporting duplication while ensuring there was full accountability and funds were used as donors intended. 

"The harmonisation of reporting will free up resources so we can concentrate on what matters most - providing services to the vision impaired," Ms Barnes said. 

Cancer Council WA chief executive Ashley Reid said he supported the reduced reporting and harmonisation of the WA Charitable Collections Act. 

"While the financial benefits will be minimal, the cutting of red tape is a positive move," Mr Reid said. 

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