Understanding the New Shifts in Non-Profit Income Tax Exemption Requirements in Australia

Keiren Kennedy


April 11, 2024


The landscape for non-profit organizations in Australia, particularly those that are not registered as charities, is undergoing a significant transformation. This change revolves around how these entities will access and demonstrate their eligibility for income tax exemptions moving forward. This blog post delves into the critical aspects of the new requirements set forth by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and aims to shed light on the path ahead for these organizations.


Introduction to the New NFP Self-Review Return

For years, not-for-profit organizations (NFPs) in Australia, such as community service and sporting groups, have benefited from income tax exemptions. These exemptions have been pivotal in allowing these organizations to channel more of their resources directly into their missions. However, with the onset of the 2023-24 financial year, there comes a notable shift designed to refine the process and ensure that only those genuinely eligible can avail of these tax benefits.

Who is Affected?

It’s important to clarify that organisations registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) are not affected by these changes. Those that are are not registered, are now required to complete these returns including but are not limited to, various sporting, recreational organizations and community service entities.

To check if the organisation is eligible to be registered as a charity, see Self-Assessed Income Tax Exempt Organisations at the ACNC website.

What’s New?

Starting from the 2023-24 financial year, NFPs holding an active Australian Business Number (ABN) and self-assessing for income tax exemption will need to fulfill an additional requirement – lodging an annual self-review return with the Australian Tax Office (ATO). This means the new lodgements with fall between 1 July 2024 and 31 October 2024.

The Rationale

The introduction of an annual reporting requirement stems from a drive to enhance transparency and integrity within the system. By necessitating this step, the ATO aims to ensure that only eligible entities benefit from income tax exemptions.

Guidance from the ATO

To aid NFPs in navigating these changes, the ATO has rolled out new online guidance on their website Reporting requirments to self-assess income tax exemption. The guidance elucidates several key points about the self-review return:

  • It will contain questions similar to those found in the current self-review worksheets, which organizations can utilize to assess their tax status.
  • It is designed to prompt NFPs to reflect on their purpose and activities, ensuring they align with the eligibility criteria for income tax exemption.
  • Interestingly, the return will not delve into financial specifics. However, it will include a question regarding the NFP’s income range, providing a general sense of the organization’s size.

Final Thoughts

This new regulated self-assessment process signifies a step towards ensuring that the privileges of tax exemption are reserved for those entities that truly qualify. For non-charitable not-for-profit organisations in Australia, adapting to these changes will be crucial in maintaining their tax-exempt status. By staying informed and prepared, organizations can remain compliant and continue to focus on their vital work in the community.

If your organisation has any questions about these new requirements or needs assistance please reach out to us at enquiries@poolegroup.com.au

  • Keiren Kennedy

    My diverse background in manufacturing, wholesale, and retail businesses enables me to work with business owners helping them to gain confidence in their financial decisions. My passion lies in working with business owners who are dedicated and driven to overcome the challenges of business ownership.

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