The opportunities for a common charity definition: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

For the first time, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) have been invited to present at The Tax Institute’s States’ Taxation Conference, taking place in Darwin in July 2016.
David Locke, Assistant Commissioner, Charity Services at the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission spoke to us about why the time was right for the ACNC to speak directly to practitioners on charity related taxation issues.

David said ‘The ACNC works closely with the State and Territory Offices of State Revenue but have not previously engaged with The Tax Institute to a significant extent. My presentation, with Nicole Rowa, also of the ACNC, is an important next step in the ACNC’s relationship with the Offices of State Revenue. These relationships have helped us to understand the differences in the legislation and regulations that impact on the taxation concessions available to charities’.

‘The ACNC is presenting on the opportunities for a common charity definition. The definition of charity has an impact on a number of Commonwealth and state regulators, but we are obviously focussing on the taxation revenue impact on the states’, he said.

‘We will be asking delegates to think of the charity taxation environment as having two distinct stages; the Charity Determination stage and the Tax Assessment stage. We are proposing that the Charity Determination stage be undertaken by the ACNC and the Tax Assessment stage by the Commissioners of State Revenue. We hope that attendees will see the value to regulators, charities, the public and the beneficiaries of charities in the model that we are proposing’.

David mentioned ‘The new model that the ACNC is proposing for managing charity determinations will be a significant change and is a hot topic in itself. We are proposing a model that we believe will make life much easier for charities without compromising the Commissioners of State Revenue’s jurisdiction to determine which charities receive tax concessions. The model proposed means that once they are recognised as a charity by the ACNC, this status has universal application for all Office of State Revenue and other state and territory purposes. Under this model, the Professional delegates (as opposed to Government delegates) will still need to understand the particular state and territory charity Tax Assessment rules.’

Looking at the wider conference, David told us he was particularly keen on catching the panel discussion on ‘Tax Reform – the Federal/State Interplay’, with Robert Carling, Senior Fellow, Centre for Independent Studies, Rob Schwarz, SA Dept of Premier and Cabinet and The Tax Institute’s Stephanie Caredes, CTA. He told us ‘the session has direct relevance to the role of the ACNC. One of our statutory objects is to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the Australian not-for-profit sector. This involves us having direct relationships with the not-for-profit regulators, which are mainly the states and territories’.

David is a qualified lawyer who has served as a board member and volunteer of a number of charities and not-for-profits. David was formerly the Executive Director of Charity Services at the Charity Commission of England and Wales. David has worked as an adviser to several international governments on the regulation of non-government organisations. A keen traveller, David mentions he’s looking forward to a break in the warm weather in Darwin, and enjoys spending time exploring the many beautiful destinations Australia has to offer. He also loves cinema and theatre of all types.

Find out more about David and Nicole’s session on our website, where you can explore the rest of the program.

The 16th Annual States' Taxation Conference takes place 27-29 July 2016, at the Darwin Convention Centre. Find out more.


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