Charities Services, who look after the charities register, have set a reminder for all charities submitting annual returns, performance reports or financial statements, that an upcoming due date is September 30.
Registered charities must file annual returns within 6 months of their chosen balance dates, of which the two options are March 31 or June 30.
Charities must file both your annual return and either your financial statements or your performance report.
The amount annual expenses determines what reports charities must submit. Tiers 1 and 2 (annual expenses either over $30 million and between $2 million and $30 million) must submit both an annual return and financial statements.
Tiers 3 and 4 (under $2 million in annual expenses and under $125,000 annual operating payments) must submit an annual return and a performance report in lieu of financial statements.
An annual return includes general information and summarises key financial information which is added to the public Charities Register.
Financial statements and performance reports offer further detail on a charity’s activities. These do not form part of the Charities Register database but are accessible when the charity is found on the register.
The External Reporting Board (XRB), an independent Crown Entity, sets ‘not for profit’ standards which must be followed when compiling financial statements or performance reports.
Charities may require an audit or review.
If a registered charity has spent more than $1 million in each of its two preceding financial years, it is required to have an audit.
If a registered charity spent more than $500,000 in each of the two preceding financial years, it is instead required to have a review.
Qualified Auditors (QA), who must be recognised by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) or CPA Australia are required to conduct audits or reviews on registered charities to comply with the Charities Act 2005.
Some smaller charities which are not required to conduct audits or reviews may have their own rules to audit. Charities Services recommends considering whether you require an audit in these circumstances as audits can be a costly exercise.
Annual reporting is an opportunity for Charities to promote themselves.
Annual reports and financial statements or performance reports present the opportunity to showcase the work charities do.
CAANZ run the Charity Reporting Awards, which can promote your charity.