The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has provided eight ways in which you can avoid errors in completing the 2019 Annual Information Statement.

  1. Make sure your charity has completed last year’s statement before starting work on the next.
  2. Check your charity’s financial year-end date to ensure that the correct reporting period is used.
  3. Check your charity’s ‘address for service’ email – use a generic email address rather than a personal one.
  4. Know what’s needed if you’re a basic religious charity. The AIS contains several questions to help you determine if yours is a basic religious charity. Religious charities must advance religion and comply with five other requirements. Only a small number of charities that advance religion meet all five requirements. Read more at acnc.gov.au/BasicReligiousCharity.
  5. Ensure you select the right activities for your charity. A question allows charities to select ‘other categories’. Make this selection only in exceptional circumstances.
  6. Remember to provide financial information.
  7. Take up streamlined reporting opportunities. By answering questions about fundraising and incorporated-association details, many charities will no longer have to double-up and provide the same information to state and territory-based regulators. Have your charity’s incorporated association number as well as information about your organisation’s AGM, membership and fundraising handy so that you can answer these questions, and
  8. Look over your responses to AIS questions at the end of the form. You may print out and review your AIS before submission to ensure you have completed it correctly. Remember to press the submit button. If you do not press submit, the commission will not receive the AIS. After you submit, you can save or print a PDF of your responses. The ACNC will also send you your responses by email.
  • Further tips follow for medium-sized charities that must submit a financial report that is either reviewed or audited. Large charities must submit a financial report that is audited.
  • Know your financial-report type – general-purpose or special-purpose. Notes to financial statements must clearly state the type of financial report a charity has prepared. Ensure that accounting-policy disclosures highlight the type of financial report prepared
  • Will you provide a consolidated financial statement? Although the ACNC accepts consolidated reports, don’t forget that the AIS’s financial information questions are only for the registered charities and not the entire group.
  • Attach all required documents.
  • If you prepare special-purpose financial statements, you must comply with the four mandatory accounting standards, and
  • General-purpose statements must have complete and high-quality related-party disclosures. Ensure that all relevant accounting standards are complied with and provide sufficient detail of transactions among related parties and key management personnel.