The most common legal structure for a not-for-profit group is the incorporated association. The merits include limited liability for members and the ability to buy or sell property and borrow money. Unincorporated associations are more flexible but liability is unlimited. A company limited by guarantee has higher compliance costs but can operate interstate. Co-operatives must fully conform to co-operative principles to be registered. Incorporated associations have obligations to the Registrar of Associations. A secretary must be appointed. Business activity may be conducted. An annual general meeting must be held. Minutes of meetings must be kept and financial reporting is mandatory. The Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic) has codified the duties of office holders and committee members. Tax must be paid on income unless tax-free status is granted or the association is a deductible gift recipient.


Not-for-profit Law Service

Justice Connect

Community organisations: Contacts

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)
Tel: 1300 558 181

Justice Connect – Not-for-profit Law
Tel: 1800 637 529 

Justice Connect’s Not-for-profit Law is a specialist legal service established to provide free and low-cost legal assistance to not-for-profit community organisations.

State Revenue Office Victoria
Tel: 13 21 61


Australian Government – Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
Tel: 13 22 62

Australian Government – Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations
Tel: 1800 622 431

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
Tel: 1300 300 630

Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
Tel (not-for-profit infoline): 1300 130 248

Consumer Affairs Victoria
See above

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