If you’re running a Not-For-Profit organisation (NFP) or charity, and want to run it in a way that is similar to a company, you might be considering setting up an Incorporated Association

This way, you’ll be driven by your charitable purpose or a recreational purpose (for example, a sports club), and still operate like a company. Under an Incorporated Association structure, you’d be able to register with the relevant state body, have a separate legal identity and have an elected management committee that ensures your organisation’s objectives are met. 

It’s an exciting step for NFPs to take, but the rules and obligations around the set-up process are different in each state. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the legislation in the state you want to operate in. 

If you want to set up an incorporated association in ACT, you’ve come to the right place. Sprintlaw can help you with your set up process and fees. 

Where Do I Start?

The process of setting up an incorporated association might seem a bit overwhelming initially, but don’t worry! With the right legal help, it’s actually a lot more simple than it looks. 

In ACT, the relevant body to familiarise yourself with is Access Canberra. They regulate all incorporated associations in ACT. But before you get your hands on any applications, what is the first thing you need to do?

1. Make Sure You Are Eligible

Before you even think about lodging any applications or registering with Access Canberra, you need to check that your organisation meets all the relevant requirements. 

To set up an incorporated association in ACT, your group needs to have at least five members and operate on a not-for-profit basis. This means you cannot:

  • Trade for a financial benefit
  • Hold shares for members
  • Hold property in which members have an interest 

If you satisfy all of these requirements, you’re ready for step 2!

2. Pass A Resolution

The next step is to pass a resolution (or a majority decision) within your group. This involves authorising someone to actually submit the application for your organisation to Access Canberra.

3. Lodge Application With Access Canberra

Now, the main step – it’s time to lodge your application. This step is relatively straightforward. 

Here, you fill out the Application to Incorporate an Association form, and pay the required fee. You also need to include the following details:

  • Your organisation’s name
  • Your organisation’s purpose/s
  • Your organisation’s proposed rules
  • Details of your committee members and the first public officer

If you need help filling out this form, Sprintlaw can help you make sure you haven’t made any mistakes. 

4. Wait For Access Canberra To Get Back To You

Now that the main steps are complete, you just need to wait for Access Canberra to review your form. If everything is good to go, they will approve it and you will receive a certificate of incorporation – congratulations! 

If there are any issues that arise around your application, Access Canberra will contact you to discuss them. 

What Laws Should I Be Aware Of?

In ACT, your incorporated association will be regulated by the Associations Incorporation Act 1991 (ACT). It sets out a number of rules that incorporated associations need to comply with, such as:

  • Nominating a public officer – this person will be the ‘contact person’ for the organisation
  • Establishing a committee with at least three members – they will be responsible for managing the organisation pursuant to your rules 
  • Having a name for your organisation – Access Canberra generally will not approve a name that is similar to one that is already registered on the ACT or ASIC business names register 
  • Drafting rules for your organisation – you can also choose to adopt the ‘model rules’ under the Act 
  • Deciding on your organisation’s purposes

Where Can I Get The Right Legal Help?

Setting up an Incorporated Association in ACT can be tricky if you’re not familiar with the process. At Sprintlaw, we offer a package that ensures your incorporation process is simple and stress-free. 

We can help you with your application to Access Canberra, as well as the relevant fees to pay. 

We also offer packages to help set up an Incorporated Association in other states in Australia. 

If you would like a consultation on your options going forward, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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