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Registering a cultural organisation

TAKEAWAY: Registering your organisation or fund as a cultural organisation will ensure that it is considered a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR). This means that your donors can benefit from tax deductions.

Individuals can receive a tax deduction when they donate to an organisation or fund which is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR).

To be eligible for endorsement, organisations and funds must fall into a defined DGR category. One such category is public funds on the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO).

This register consists of qualifying public funds or organisations which have approved by the Minister for the Arts and the Treasurer. The register is administered by the Ministry for the Arts within the Attorney-General’s department.

Eligibility for listing on the Register of Cultural Organisations

1 - Structure

Your organisation must be constituted as one of the following entities:

2 - Principal purpose

To consider your organisation for entry on the register, the Minister for the Arts and the Treasurer must be satisfied that your organisation’s principal purpose is the promotion of a cultural activity or activities.

Such activities include:

3 - Public fund

Your organisation must maintain a public fund and receive gifts for its principal purpose. A fund can be described as a ‘public’ fund under the following circumstances:

4 - Other requirements

Your organisation must also meet the following requirements:

  1. It is not-for-profit – i.e. it must not give any of its property, profits or financial surplus to its members, beneficiaries, controllers or owners;
  2. It operates in Australia – i.e. the use of the tax deductible funds for the promotion of culture must be for the benefit of the Australian community;
  3. It provides information on donations to the Arts Secretary every six months;
  4. It participates in periodic reviews of its eligibility by the Ministry for the Arts; and
  5. It has an ABN.

Applying to register with the ROCO

The steps an organisation needs to take to be entered on the register and endorsed as a DGR can be found on page 9 of the Register of Cultural Organisations Guide.

Further details regarding this process can be found on the ATO website .

Getting help

If you’d like to explore the establishment of a cultural organisation, contact the Moores not-for-profit team on (03) 9843 2158 or email

They can provide more detailed advice tailored to your circumstances and objectives.

Disclaimer: This help sheet has been prepared by Moores, not-for-profit legal advisers. It provides a general guide and should not be relied on as (or in substitution for) legal advice.