Administration transfer to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving Our Tax System) Act 2023 came into effect on 1 January 2024.
From 1 January 2024, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will be responsible for assessing deductible gift recipient (DGR) eligibility for environmental organisations. These changes will:
- support administrative consistency
- provide a simpler DGR application process.
Read more about deductible gift recipient reform on the ATO website.
Impacts on organisations currently on the Register of Environmental Organisations (the register)
The new law also contains transitional provisions to ensure organisations currently endorsed as DGRs under the REO continue to be endorsed if they continue to meet eligibility criteria.
The transitional provisions also apply to those organisations that have lodged an application with one of the four government departments and have not been notified of an outcome by 31 December 2023. This applies to applicants seeking:
- entry on one of the 3 registers with the other government departments
- DGR endorsement from the ATO
- declaration of a developing country relief fund
- to be an approved Overseas Aid organisation
Refer to the transitional provisions to determine if applicable to your organisation from 1 January 2024.
From 1 January 2024:
- the REO will no longer exist as a register
- the ATO will be the contact for all matters related to an environmental organisation’s DGR endorsement. Please contact the ATO Endorsements team.
- the Australian Business Register (ABN Lookup) will detail an organisation's DGR status
- statistical returns will not be required.
Impacts on new applications
The ATO will administer the assessment, approval and application for DGR endorsement.
To apply for DGR endorsement as an environmental organisation go to the ATO website.
Applications that are currently with the department and have not been approved, will be transferred to the ATO after 1 January 2024. We will contact all affected applicants with more details.
Ongoing obligations to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC)
Organisations have ongoing obligations to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) to remain registered as a charity.
- keeping charity status by maintaining entitlement to registration
- notifying the ACNC of any changes
- keeping financial and operational records
- reporting information annually (except charities that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations)
- complying with ACNC Governance Standards and External Conduct Standards.
Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Reforms
On 5 December 2017 the former government announced reforms to the administration and oversight of organisations with deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.
The changes were designed to:
- strengthen governance arrangements
- reduce administrative complexity
- ensure continued trust and confidence in the sector.
Part of this package has included the following.
DGR Register Reforms
On 13 September 2021, Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Act 2021 became law. The amendment to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 requires a fund, authority or institution to, as a precondition for DGR endorsement, be:
- a registered charity; or
- an Australian government agency; or
- operated by a registered charity or an Australian government agency.
On 28 June 2023, Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving Our Tax System) Act 2023 became law. The commencement for the new law is 1 January 2024.
The reform will transfer administration of the 4 unique DGR categories from portfolio agencies to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). It is designed to make all DGR categories consistent in administration, reduce red tape imposed on endorsed organisations, and simplify the application process for organisations seeking DGR status.
Visit the following ATO and ACNC websites for more information on the proposed Reform and registering as a charity.
- Department of Treasury - Requiring Deductible Gift Recipients (DGRs) to Register as Charities and Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Registers Reform
- ATO - Deductible gift recipient reform
- ACNC - Deductible gift recipient (DGR)
From 1 January 2024, the ATO will be the contact for all matters related to an environmental organisation’s DGR endorsement. Please contact the ATO Endorsements team via email: ATOEndorsements@ato.gov.au
- Read the REO report: A Decade of Donations for the Environment
- Search the Australian Business Register to find entities that can receive tax deductible donations
- Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission
- ATO gifts and fundraising