AAT ruling affirms ACNC’s approach to PBI eligibility


The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) welcomes an Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruling that endorses their approach to determining charities’ eligibility for public benevolent institution (PBI) status.

Charities with the PBI subtype receive tax concessions and the Australian Taxation Office may allow donations to them to be deemed tax deductible.

In December 2018, the ACNC declined to register NSW charity, Women’s Life Centre Inc as a PBI, but determined it could be registered as a charity under two other sub-types − advancing health and advancing social or public welfare.

WLC sought a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, however, last week the Tribunal affirmed the ACNC’s decision to deny the PBI request.

ACNC Assistant Commissioner − General Counsel, Anna Longley welcomed the ruling.

“The AAT decision endorses our general approach to determining which charities meet the criteria to be eligible for public benevolent institution status,” Ms Longley said.

“It was central to the decision that the charity’s services needed to be available to a wide class of people. Women’s Life Centre continues to be registered as a charity under two other sub-types. We wish them well in their charitable endeavours.”

The charity has 28 days to appeal the Tribunal’s decision.

There are more than 58,000 charities on the ACNC Charity Register, and approximately 13,800 are public benevolent institutions. The ACNC Commissioner’s Interpretation Statement provides guidance on the meaning and scope of the PBI charity subtype for ACNC purposes.