Organisations listed on the Register of Cultural Organisations can receive tax deductible donations. This helps cultural organisations to attract funding from businesses and individuals.
Application to enter an organisation onto the Register of Cultural Organisations
All applications to enter an organisation on the Register must be submitted through SmartyGrants.
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Register of Cultural Organisations
The Register of Cultural Organisations is a list of cultural organisations that can receive tax deductible gifts. The register aims to strengthen private sector support for the arts and encourages Australians to contribute to the nation's vibrant cultural life. Australian organisations can be listed on the register if their principal purpose is to promote one of the following cultural activities in Australia:
- visual arts
- community arts
- performing arts
- arts or languages of Indigenous persons
- movable cultural heritage.
The Treasurer and the Minister for the Arts approve new additions to the register. The Office for the Arts administers the register.
Public art galleries, museums and libraries are generally not included on the register because they are approved by the Australian Taxation Office under another deductible gift recipient category.
Supporters of the arts can also make tax-deductible donations to support arts and cultural projects through the Australian Cultural Fund administered by Creative Partnerships Australia. Artists and arts organisations that can't themselves receive tax-deductible gifts may wish to consider registering an Australian Cultural Fund project.
Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) reform
On 5 December 2017 the Government announced reforms of the administration and oversight of organisations with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. The changes are designed to strengthen governance arrangements, reduce administrative complexity and ensure continued trust and confidence in the sector.
Major elements of the reforms include:
- Requiring non-government organisations wishing to be endorsed as a DGR to be registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
- The removal of public fund requirements for DGRs.
- Transferring the administration of the four DGR registers to the ATO and the ACNC.
Requiring DGRs to be registered as a charity
On 17 March 2021, the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.2) Bill 2021 was introduced to the Australian Parliament which changes the requirements for endorsement as a DGR. The Bill is still before the Parliament and is yet to pass into law.
The Bill amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to require a fund, authority or institution to, as a precondition for DGR endorsement, be:
- a registered charity,
- an Australian government agency, or
- operated by a registered charity or an Australian government agency.
This means that, once the amendments become law, any non-government not-for-profit organisation will have to be registered as a charity with the ACNC to be endorsed as a DGR.
No further action is required for organisations that are already registered as a charity with the ACNC.
Organisations already endorsed as a DGR but who are not a registered as a charity with the ACNC will have 12 months to meet the new requirements to register as a charity. Following this, 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 three-year exemption. More information about these arrangements will be made available once the Bill becomes law.
Visit the following ATO and ACNC websites to keep up-to-date on the status of the Bill and for more information on registering as a charity.
Register of Cultural Organisations
Office for the Arts
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
GPO Box 2154
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6271 7108