Clayton Utz has a long history of advising not-for-profit (NFP) bodies in Australia. Our clients come from the entire spectrum of NFP structures, including companies limited by guarantee, public and private charitable trusts, incorporated associations, religious institutions and co-operatives.
For many years we have navigated the various statutory regimes particular to the sector, assisting NFPs with issues such as identifying the structure that best fits their needs, assisting with applications for tax concessions and advising on fundraising and governance requirements.
The regulatory framework for the sector is currently complex with duplicated and conflicting regimes at national and state levels, but national reform is well under way with the establishment of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) on 3 December 2012 as the centrepiece. For many NFPs, it is a challenging period of transition and Clayton Utz is well placed to help organisations navigate the changes as they unfold.
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Our clients' immediate needs are centred around understanding how the reforms will affect them and what they can do to prepare, including:
- understanding the new regulator (the ACNC), its powers and its responsibilities;
- making ongoing submissions to the Federal Government as the reforms are finalised;
- identifying new reporting requirements from 1 July 2013;
- assisting ACNC-registered charities to prepare for and meet the five Governance Standards applicable from 1 July 2013;
- monitoring the introduction of a statutory definition of "charity";
- monitoring changes regarding NFP tax concessions and especially "unrelated commercial activities" tests; and
- monitoring the development of charitable fundraising regulation.
While the Government's reforms seek to improve the system, it will be a tricky era to work through. Against this backdrop, the team at Clayton Utz is ideally placed to assist organisations with their legal issues – whether under existing laws or the new regulations as they unfold.
We have a considerable depth of expertise in the NFP sector across all offices with experience in advising organisations, including:
- Australian Paralympic Committee
- The Salvation Army
- Committee for Melbourne
- CPA Australia Limited
- Transport Friendly Society
- Tintern Schools
- Yarra Valley Grammar
- World Vision Australia
- Australian Home Care Services Ltd
- Carers Australia
- Cerebral Palsy Alliance
- Australian Green Infrastructure Council
- Ardoch Youth Foundation
This expertise is underpinned by our For-Profit practice and clients benefit from our work with a range of listed and private companies, including advising on:
- the structure, implementation and maintenance of effective governance policies and procedures
- strategic and innovative taxation advice and applications for concessions;
- a range of transactions including acquisitions, mergers and reconstructions; and
- employment, industrial relations and human resources-related issues including occupational health and safety, employee fraud, discrimination and diversity.
We offer a comprehensive range of legal services and advice on matters affecting NFPs. We've helped our clients with:
- submissions to the Federal Government on the Not-for-profit Reforms;
- the transition from a federated state-based structure to a single national entity;
- restructures, asset sales, mergers and joint ventures;
- finding an appropriate structure to ensure optimum governance arrangements;
- litigation on eligibility and applications for tax concessions, including tax exemptions, deductible gift recipient status and FBT benefits;
- establishing and winding up of philanthropic vehicles for corporate groups and families, including private and public ancillary funds;
- sponsorship and fundraising agreements and service contracts;
- Occupational Health & Safety;
- employment contracts and volunteer policies;
- converting an incorporated association into a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act;
- establishing separate corporate entities for specific activities;
- changes to remove representational aspects of board appointments; and
- IT advice and agreements, and IP litigation (brand protection).
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