The Statutory Definition of Charity Bill passed through the Senate which means the Not for Profit sector now has a single statute which clearly defines what is and isn’t charity.

Senator Ursula Stephens said the Bill would allow for better use of time and less red tape for the sector.

“The consequent savings in time, energy, and other resources will be enormous,” she said.
“The flow on reductions in red tape, duplication and compliance costs will translate into better services for the community.”

A Statutory definition of charity was recommended by an independent inquiry 12 years ago, with resounding support from the Not for Profit sector. The Charities Bill 2013 has taken two years to develop and has been the subject of extensive consultation.

The new Charities legislation will:

  • Expand the current ‘four heads’ of charity to 12, explicitly codifying some important charitable purposes in their own right such as  ‘promoting or protecting human rights’;
  • Integrate the 2010 High Court of Australia decision on Aid/Watch v Tax Commissioner;
  • Resolve a number of anomalies which stymied particular charities.

The Statutory Definition of Charity will come into effect on January 1, 2014.