Commonwealth Charity and Taxation reforms impacting SES units
DFES Senior Taxation Officer Anthony Sommes has provided a reminder that all units are no longer eligible for charity registration and will need to voluntarily revoke their charity status.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has provided advice to DFES that all units are not eligible for charity registration and will need to voluntarily revoke their charity status. This is due to the powers and functions of a public nature vested in State Emergency Service units and their volunteers via the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998 and Fire and Emergency Services Regulations 1998. The ACNC require units to voluntarily revoke their charity status by February 2023 which must be done via the ACNC Charity Portal
As a consequence of the above ACNC advice, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has provided taxation advice to DFES that all units can self-assess their income tax exemption status as being a government like entity under Commonwealth income tax legislation. This means all units remain income tax-exempt, including lodging tax returns.
For Unit Local Managers, DFES is advising them to complete the following actions:
- if your Unit is not registered as a charity or endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR), you are not impacted and no action is required.
- if your Unit is registered with the ACNC as a charity, you need to voluntarily revoke your charity registration status.
- if your Unit is endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) under the public benevolent institution category and wish to continue this endorsement, then apply for a new endorsement under the fire and emergency services category prior to revoking your charity status.
Additional charity and DGR information is in the Funding and Grants Toolbox in the Taxation Information page in the DFES Volunteer Hub specifically for units. If you have queries then contact the SESVA Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org