What are the different legal structures of non-profit organisations in Australia?

When establishing a non-profit organisation, founders can choose from a large range of legal structures. An organisation’s legal structure will determine the types of activities it is legally able to carry out and which government bodies it is required to seek registration from or report to.

In 2010 The Productivity Commission investigated the non-profit sector in The Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector. It considered the value of transitioning from the current legal structuring of non-profit organisations to a single legal form in order to prevent confusion between different forms and reduce the restrictive nature of some current forms. In the report, however, the Commission recommended retaining the current variety of legal forms as the migration of existing entities to a new system would be extremely expensive and time-consuming for organisations and current staff and advisors who are already familiar with the current system and regulations relating to their organisations.

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