YOUR ASF GUIDE TO ABNS AND INCORPORATED ORGANISATIONS

What is an Australian Business Number (ABN)?

An Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique number which identifies your organisation to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and other government departments and agencies.

 

It is not compulsory for a not-for-profit organisation to have an ABN unless it has an annual turnover of $150,000 or more (in which case it is required to register for GST, and must have an ABN to do this). However, even if your organisation is not required to register for GST, it can be helpful to have an ABN.

Organisations commonly choose to register for an ABN so they can:

  • interact with government departments, agencies and authorities,
  • claim GST credits (by voluntarily registering for GST), and
  • deal with businesses more easily (especially for ordering and invoicing purposes).

 

More information on ABNs, including who is entitled to apply, is set out on the Australian Business Register website.

 

What is an incorporation number (Inc. No.)?

When an organisation becomes incorporated, they will receive a certificate of incorporation from the relevant State body. This certificate will include a reference number, that is a unique identifier for that organisation.

Incorporation numbers can generally be found on the ASIC search register, or by contacting the relevant State body.

 

What is an Australian Company Number (ACN)?

Every company in Australia is issued with a unique, nine-digit number when registered. This is an Australian Company Number (ACN).

An ACN can generally be found on the ASIC search register, or the ABN Lookup website.

What is an incorporated association?

When a club or community group incorporates, it becomes a legal entity meaning that it stays the same even if its committee or members change. It can enter into contracts in its own name; for example, to receive grants, borrow money or buy equipment. This protects the individual members of the association from legal liabilities.

It’s important to note that only non-profit organisations can become an incorporated association. Being “non-profit” doesn’t mean an organisation can’t make a profit, it just means that profits and surplus assets can’t be distributed to its members.

Incorporated associations are registered under state and territory legislation. Please find below links to each State body responsible for registering incorporated associations:

 

Victoria

New South Wales

Queensland

Western Australia

South Australia

Tasmania

Northern Territory

Australian Capital Territory

 

https://asic.gov.au/for-business/registering-a-company/steps-to-register-a-company/registering-not-for-profit-or-charitable-organisations/

 

Registering as a company

Charitable and not-for-profit organisations can be registered as public companies limited by guarantee. This means the liability of the company’s members is limited. The limit is usually the amount members will contribute to the property of the company if it is wound up.

Registration of a company creates a legal entity separate from its members. This means the company can hold property and sue or be sued.

 

If you are considering setting up a new entity, the Not-for-profit Law website has some great information. You can even select which State you’re from and it’ll provide more specific information.

 

If you have any further questions about whether your organisation is eligible to sign up for the Fundraising4Sport program, please get in touch with our friendly Client Services team on 02 5112 0990 or info@sportsfoundation.org.au

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