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Changing Legal Structure

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The information on this page is aimed at incorporated associations considering changing their legal structure.

Sometimes incorporated associations reassess whether the incorporated association legal structure is still the most appropriate structure for their needs and future plans.  An organisation may reconsider its structure when it faces:

  • changes in size
  • changes in membership
  • changes in assets
  • changes in location of operation, or
  • registration as a charity.

The relevance of registration as a charity is that where a CLG structure was previously not considered an option by many small or volunteer run charities, it is now a more attractive option, as CLGs that are registered charities are largely regulated by the ACNC, whereas they used to be regulated by ASIC. The ACNC is a dedicated charities regulator, is committed to reducing red tape for charities, and takes an educative approach to the regulation of CLGs registered as charities. Incorporated associations can also register as charities, however once they register they continue to report to their state-based regulator as well as the ACNC.

The fact sheets below are designed to help incorporated associations to consider options for changing legal structure, and weigh up whether the legal costs and administrative burden of changing structure is worthwhile. Remember that you can change your jurisdiction selection in the tool bar at the top of this page if you would like to see fact sheets for jurisdictions that you have not currently selected.

Don’t know your legal structure?

There are a few steps you can take to find out your organisation’s legal structure. Firstly, if your organisation is a charity, the best place to look is on the ACNC register. Once you have found your organisation’s entry, you can check your rules or constitution which should state the type of legal structure. You can search by name and by ABN or ACN.

If your organisation is not a charity, you should start with the Australian Business Register search. You will need the name and ideally the ABN or ACN of your organisation. If your group is a Company Limited by Guarantee (a federal not-for-profit structure) this will be indicated in the entry as Australian Public Company. If your group is a state-based not-for-profit structure such as an incorporated association or a co-operative, it is likely that the ABR will list it as “Other Incorporated Entity”. You will then need to search your state/territory regulator of not-for-profits to confirm your structure.

The fact sheet below has information about:

  • why an incorporated association would want to change structure
  • how a transfer of structure can be achieved, what a transfer does, and how membership changes when transferring structures, and
  • what documents must be lodged and other requirements.

For more information on the difference between incorporated associations and companies limited by guarantee, go to Not-for-profit Law's information sheet on the Choosing a Legal Structure Page.

The fact sheet below has information about:

  • why an incorporated association would want to change structure
  • how a transfer of structure can be achieved, what a transfer does, and how membership changes when transferring structures, and
  • what documents must be lodged and other requirements.

For more information on the difference between incorporated associations and companies limited by guarantee, go to Not-for-profit Law's information sheet on the Choosing a Legal Structure Page.

The fact sheet below has information about:

  • why an incorporated association would want to change structure
  • how a transfer of structure can be achieved, what a transfer does, and how membership changes when transferring structures, and
  • what documents must be lodged and other requirements.

For more information on the difference between incorporated associations and companies limited by guarantee, go to Not-for-profit Law's information sheet on the Choosing a Legal Structure Page.

The fact sheet below has information about:

  • why an incorporated association would want to change structure
  • how a transfer of structure can be achieved, what a transfer does, and how membership changes when transferring structures, and
  • what documents must be lodged and other requirements.

For more information on the difference between incorporated associations and companies limited by guarantee, go to Not-for-profit Law's information sheet on the Choosing a Legal Structure Page.

The fact sheet below has information about:

  • why an incorporated association would want to change structure
  • how a transfer of structure can be achieved, what a transfer does, and how membership changes when transferring structures, and
  • what documents must be lodged and other requirements.

For more information on the difference between incorporated associations and companies limited by guarantee, go to Not-for-profit Law's information sheet on the Choosing a Legal Structure Page.

The fact sheet below has information about:

  • why an incorporated association would want to change structure
  • how a transfer of structure can be achieved, what a transfer does, and how membership changes when transferring structures, and
  • what documents must be lodged and other requirements.

For more information on the difference between incorporated associations and companies limited by guarantee, go to Not-for-profit Law's information sheet on the Choosing a Legal Structure Page.

The fact sheet below has information about:

  • why an incorporated association would want to change structure
  • how a transfer of structure can be achieved, what a transfer does, and how membership changes when transferring structures, and
  • what documents must be lodged and other requirements.

For more information on the difference between incorporated associations and companies limited by guarantee, go to Not-for-profit Law's information sheet on the Choosing a Legal Structure Page.

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