Organisations listed on the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO) can receive tax deductible donations. This helps cultural organisations to attract funding from businesses and individuals.
Deductible Gift Recipient(DGR) reform
On 28 June 2023, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Act 2023 became law. The amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 transfer administrative responsibility of four unique deductible gift recipient (DGR) categories (including ROCO) from other government departments to the ATO.
The changes take effect from 1 January 2024 at which time the Office for the Arts will no longer have responsibility for administering the ROCO and it will be transferred to the ATO. The legislation contains transitional provisions to ensure organisations currently endorsed as DGRs, under the four unique DGR categories, will continue to be endorsed so long as they continue to meet the existing eligibility criteria.
- Applications can be submitted using SmartyGrants to the Office for the Arts until 31 December 2023. After this time the ATO will accept applications and assess eligibility for the ROCO.
- The ATO is working with the Office for the Arts to ensure a smooth transition in administration.
- DGRs can keep up-to-date with new and refreshed guidance by subscribing to the ATO's monthly newsletter at ato.gov.au/nfpnews.
Application to enter an organisation onto the Register of Cultural Organisations
Following Royal Assent of the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.2) Bill 2021, all non-government organisations must be registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) to be eligible to apply for the ROCO. The exception to the charity requirement is Australian Government Agencies (AGA's) recognised by the ATO. Contact details are provided below for charity registration:
Following charity registration, all applications for the ROCO must be submitted through SmartyGrants.
Please note that the time taken to assess ROCO applications can take up to six months. This timeframe may be longer depending on the completeness and the complexity of the application.
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 Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury 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 (DGR) 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 Australia. Artists and arts organisations who do not have DGR status are encouraged to consider registering an Australian Cultural Fund project.
- Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving Our Tax System) Act 2023
- Streamlining the Deductible Gift Recipient Registers—for the Minister's media release on 29 June 2023
- Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Registers Reform—for outcomes on Treasury consultation held between 19 January and 19 February 2023
- DGR categories
Register of Cultural Organisations
Office for the Arts
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts
GPO Box 594
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6271 7108