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

Legislation related to community organisations

Last updated

1 July 2021

The following legislation relates to community organisations:

  • Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic);
  • Associations Incorporation Reform Regulations 2012 (Vic);
  • Co-operatives National Law Application Act 2013 (Vic);
  • Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth);
  • Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Victorian Acts and regulations are available from the government’s register of legislation.

Back to
Houses, communities and the road