Reading time: 5 minutes

Congratulations on registering your charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). Once registered, your charity can apply for charity tax concessions from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Your charity can apply for additional tax benefits if it is a public benevolent institution (PBI), health promotion charity (HPC) or charity for the advancement of religion

This article is part 4 of a 5-part series to assist charities. Part 1 is to help you choose the right structure. Part 2 describes the legal documents that you need. Part 3 explains the requirements and benefits of being registered with the ACNC and part 5 will explain how to obtain deductible gift recipient (DGR) status.

Public benevolent institution (PBI)

A PBI is a sub-type of a charitable organisation. PBIs can apply for charity tax concessions and may be eligible to be endorsed as DGRs by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). A PBI’s main purpose is to relieve poverty and/or distress.

If you want your organisation to have DGR status under the PBI category, your charity must be registered with the ACNC, as a charity, with the subtype of ‘public benevolent institution’. It must also satisfy other requirements of the ATO.

PBIs must have a main purpose of benevolent relief. Benevolent relief includes working for the relief of poverty or distress, such as sickness, disability, destitution, suffering, misfortune or helplessness.

PBI’s must provide benevolent relief to a section of the community that needs help, i.e. people in need. The PBI cannot provide services to the public generally.

The PBI must aim to alleviate a significant level of distress. A charity only meets the definition if its purposes try to meet a need that is:

  • significant enough (and the circumstances difficult enough) to arouse compassion in people in the community;
  • beyond the suffering experienced as part of ordinary daily life; and
  • concrete – aimed at helping people who are recognisably in need of benevolence.

The PBI can provide a range of services. For example, providing education and life skills to people in need, not just relieving their immediate suffering with food and shelter. Another example is assisting people with disabilities, providing aged care services, or providing low cost housing for people in need.

As long as the PBI’s main purpose is benevolent, it can also have other incidental non-benevolent purposes, for example, education of the general public.

Health promotion charity (HPC)

Your organisation may be a HPC if it is a charitable institution which promotes the prevention or control of disease in human beings, and this is the organisation’s principal activity.

A HPC can register with the ACNC, can apply for charity tax concessions, and may be eligible for deductible gift recipient status with the Australian Tax Office.

Some examples of a HPC include some community health care providers, some medical research organisations and organisations that raise awareness of human diseases.

Disease is interpreted broadly and may include any mental or physical ailment, disorder or defect. Examples of HPC’s include institutions regarding cancer, multiple sclerosis, depression, asthma and autism.

Your HPC must specify which disease or diseases it is concerned with preventing or controlling. The disease must affect people, not animals or plants.

Activities to prevent or control disease in human beings include educating sufferers and their support people, developing or providing aids or equipment to help people suffering from the condition or disease, and engaging in medical research into the causes, prevention or treatment of the condition or disease.

Charity for the advancement of religion

There are certain requirements which must be met to be registered as a religious charity.

A basic religious charity is a registered charity that meets all of the following requirements:

  • it is registered as a subtype of charity for the advancement of religion;
  • it would not be able to be registered as any other subtype of charity;
  • it is not a body corporate registered under the Corporations Act 2001, an Indigenous corporation (under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006), a corporation registered under the Companies Act 1985 of Norfolk Island, or an incorporated association in any state or territory;
  • it is not endorsed as a DGR itself. It can be endorsed to operate DGR funds, institutions or authorities, as long as their total revenue is less than $250 000 for the particular financial year;
  • the ACNC has not allowed it to report as part of a group, and
  • it has not received more than $100 000 in government grants in the current financial year or either of the previous two financial years.


Once registered with the ACNC as a charity, your charity can apply for certain categories of deductible gift recipient (DGR) status with the ATO. This is discussed in part 5 of this article series.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of starting a charity, read the ACNC checklist that will guide you through the steps before setting up your charity.


Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards