We administer the Register of Environmental Organisations (REO) which is a Commonwealth tax-deductibility scheme for environmental organisations enabled under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITA Act). The REO is a list of environmental organisations and their public funds which have been assessed as eligible to receive tax deductable gifts from the public.
Being listed on the REO is separate from registered charity status and eligibility for income tax and other exemptions. These are administered by the:
Legislation amended in September 2021 requires non-government deductible gift recipients (DGRs) to be a registered charity from 14 December 2021. Charity registration is an existing requirement for the majority of general DGR categories. The amendment extends this requirement to the remaining DGR categories, including the REO.
From 14 December 2021, a requirement for DGR endorsement is that all funds, authorities or institutions must be one of the following:
- a registered charity
- an Australian government agency, or
- operated by a registered charity or an Australian government agency.
This means that any non-government not-for-profit organisation will have to be registered as a charity with the ACNC to be endorsed as a DGR.
Organisations already endorsed as a DGR will have 12 months to meet the new requirements to register as a charity. An organisation with existing DGR endorsement that needs a longer period to comply, may be eligible to apply to the Commissioner for Taxation for an additional 3 year exemption. More information about these arrangements is available on the ATO and ACNC websites.
DGRs who are already registered charities do not need to do anything.
Eligibility requirements to be included on the REO are listed in our guidelines.
To be eligible for the REO, your organisation must have a principal purpose of either:
- the protection and enhancement of the natural environment or a significant aspect of the natural environment; or
- the provision of information or education, or the carrying on of research about the natural environment or a significant aspect of the natural environment.
You may want to seek independent advice as to your eligibility before applying.
Australian Business Number (ABN)
Your organisation must have an ABN before it can apply to be endorsed as a deductible gift recipient.
Your organisation’s governing documents must address certain criteria. Follow the guidelines to make any required updates.
We can help by reviewing your draft governing documents against the mandatory technical requirements of the ITA Act.
Our guidelines set out what requirements you must meet and how to apply.
Public Fund Management Committee
The department is revising the Public Fund Management Committee Member Nomination Form and REO Guidelines. The revisions will include removing the following categories and all references to these categories:
- past or present office holders of other community organisations;
- person who has held a public position;
- trustees or board members of a not-for-profit school or college; and
- directors of public companies.
Applicants to the REO should therefore disregard references to the above listed categories in the current version of the Nomination Form and REO Guidelines.
As necessary, the department will contact entities which have already applied to be on the REO, or have been entered on the REO, on the basis of these categories.
Please see Taxation Ruling TR 95/27 – Public Funds for guidance on the types of funds that the Commissioner of Taxation and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) consider to be ‘public funds’, and which persons may be considered to have a degree of responsibility to the community as a whole.
Please contact the department if you have any questions about these matters.
Apply for entry into the register
You need to submit a completed application package which includes:
- application form
- a copy of your organisation’s certificate of incorporation (if applicable)
- a copy of your governing documents (for example, constitution, rules, memorandum and articles of association, deed of trust or settlement)
- Public Fund Management Committee Member Nomination Forms
- a brief (half page) description of your organisation and its activities. We will include this in a decision brief to the Minister for the Environment. Do not simply restate the objectives in your governing documents.
Do not send us original documents. We will not return them.
You can also include your most recent:
- annual report
- audited financial statement
- publications (for example, newsletter).
Email your application to email@example.com.
Assessing your application
Complete applications are assessed in detail to ensure that all requirements are met, with particular focus on an organisation’s principal purpose. The department assesses your application to make sure the application meets all of the requirements. The application is then recommended for approval to the:
- Minister for the Environment and
- Assistant Treasurer, acting for and on behalf of the Treasurer.
The final decision can take over 12 months from when a completed application is received.
If your organisation is listed on the REO, you must submit a statistical return each year. This is in addition to the reporting requirements to the ACNC.
You do not need to submit a copy of your audited financial statement along with your statistical return. However, we may ask you to provide more information if we audit your return. This may include asking you for an audited statement.
If you do not provide this information, we may take enforcement action against you. This may include removing your organisation from the REO.
Statistical returns are due 4 months after the end of the reporting period.
Download statistical report template for current year
Download statistical report template for previous years
Updating your details
You must advise us of any changes to your operation.
Let us know if your organisation, or its public fund:
- changes its name
- changes the membership of its public fund management committee
- departs from the model rules of the public fund (see Section 7 of the guidelines).
Visit the following ATO and ACNC websites for more information on registering as a charity.
The REO team can be contacted by using the below.
Register of Environmental Organisations
Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water
GPO Box 3090
Canberra ACT 2601
- 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