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Understanding the Annual Information Statement (AIS) for Charities: What You Need to Know

The AIS is a critical online form, which evaluates a charity's operations and finances over a year. Every charity registered with ACNC (Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission) has to submit one. Why?

Annual Information Statement

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The Annual Information Statement (AIS) is an online form that asks a range of questions about a charity's operations and finances over a 12-month period.


Charities registered with the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not for profits Commission) must submit an Annual Information Statement every reporting period. Some charities may be exempt from submitting the Annual Information Statement or answering some of the questions. You can find more information about exemptions on this page.


The ACNC does not charge charities a fee to submit the Annual Information Statement.


Why charities have to complete the Annual Information Statement

The ACNC Act requires registered charities to submit an Annual Information Statement for each financial year.

The Annual Information Statement is aimed to:

  • maintain, protect, and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector through increased accountability and transparency.

  • promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on the charity sector.

These are two of the three objects contained in the ACNC Act.

ACNC Charity Register

ACNC use responses to Annual Information Statement questions in a variety of ways. Once ACNC receive your charity’s responses, they:

  • publish the information - excluding some personal information - on the ACNC Charity Register, unless your charity successfully applies to have that information withheld

  • use the information to administer the ACNC Act, including assessing your charity's entitlement to registration, and its compliance with the Act

  • may share that information with other authorised Australian government agencies through the Charity Passport, removing the need for those agencies to ask you for the same information

  • share it with researchers through data.gov.au, contributing to charity sector transparency

  • analyse it to tailor our guidance and education to charities and the sector, as well as to provide information to donors, volunteers, and the public to build greater understanding of the sector

  • monitor trends in the sector by comparing information over reporting periods.

What ACNC ask for in the Annual Information Statement

The Annual Information Statement includes questions about your charity and its activities. It also asks for some basic financial information about your charity, as well as asking questions that help us understand the charity sector and reduce its overall reporting burden.


Some questions are mandatory, others are optional.


Medium and large charities are also required to submit an annual financial report with their Annual Information Statement. Small charities can choose to submit a financial report, but it is not mandatory.


Most charities already collect the information we ask for in the Annual Information Statement. Often this information is collected for their members, donors, supporters, and grant providers, or to include in their annual reports.

AIS guidance

When to submit your Annual Information Statement

The typical ACNC reporting period is based on a standard financial year, which runs from 1 July to 30 June. If your charity wants to report for a different financial year period, you must apply for a substituted accounting period.


The Annual Information Statement will be due six months after the end of your charity's reporting period.

charity reporting period

The Annual Information Statement for newly registered charities

Charities are only required to report to the ACNC in the Annual Information Statement from the date that they became a registered charity.


This means that charities start reporting from the registration decision date on which the ACNC registered the organisation as a charity, rather than from any earlier date that the charity may have been entitled to registration.


If your charity applied to backdate its registration with the ACNC, it will still only need to report in the Annual Information Statement from the registration decision date.


If ACNC register your charity within three months of the end of its reporting period, your charity does not need to submit an Annual Information Statement or an annual financial report for that reporting period. For the following reporting period, your charity will need to submit an Annual Information Statement (and an annual financial report, if required) for the reporting period from the registration decision date until the end of its first full reporting period. For charities that are registered more than three months before the end of their reporting period, they need to report in the Annual Information Statement from the registration decision date until the end of that financial year.

example

Example:


XYZ Charity became registered as a charity with the ACNC on 5 April 2021. The charity now wishes to know when its first Annual Information Statement is due, and what period of time they need to report on. The charity operates with a standard financial year, ending on 30 June 2021.


Because XYZ Charity was registered within three months of the end of its reporting period, it is not mandatory for it to submit an Annual Information Statement for the reporting period ending 30 June 2021.


The charity needs to report from their registration decision date (5 April 2021). This means that it has two options for completing its first Annual Information Statement:


Reporting for more than 12 months in the following reporting year


XYZ Charity does not need to submit the 2021 Annual Information Statement for the reporting period ending 30 June 2021.


Instead, it will report for the first time in the 2022 Annual Information Statement, and this will cover the period from the registration decision date to the end of the following reporting period - 5 April 2021 to 30 June 2022.


Voluntarily reporting for less than three months in the current reporting year


XYZ Charity can voluntarily submit the 2021 Annual Information Statement and will report for the period from the registration decision date until the end of that reporting period - 5 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.


Then, in the following reporting period, it will submit the 2022 Annual Information Statement for the standard financial year, from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.

Wis Australia

Let Us Help You Navigate the AIS

Having trouble understanding or completing the Annual Information Statement? At [Your Company Name], we pride ourselves on our extensive accounting and consulting services. With a rich history in supporting charities, we are well-equipped to assist you with AIS submissions and more. Trust us to ensure your financial records and reports align with the highest standards of accountability and transparency. Contact us today to see how we can simplify your charity's financial journey.

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