After 115 years the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 is ready to be replaced. On 5 October 2023, the Incorporated Societies Act 2022 (the new act) came into force. But what does this mean for you?
Between 5 October 2023 to April 2026, all existing incorporated societies will be required to re-register under the new Act. Application for re-registration must be accompanied by the society’s constitution, which must be compliant with the requirements within the 2022 Act. If an incorporated society fails to re-register before the end of the transition period, the incorporated society will cease to exist, which could lead to members being held personally liable for any debts or obligations of the society. Incorporated societies will remain subject to the 1908 Act until re-registration occurs.
What does this mean for you and your incorporated society?
The first step will be to decide whether your society would like to re-register under the Act or if you would the society to be wound up. We strongly encourage you to re-register under the Act so your society can continue to operate. However, if you decide to wind up the society, we are happy to assist with this process.
Your society will need to meet with members to vote on the decision to re-register and when to complete this process. These decisions should be made at an AGM or SGM. We recommend applying for re-registration at the start of a new financial year for a more seamless transition.
A review of your incorporated societies rules (now referred to as the societies constitution) and operating processes will need to be undertaken to establish what amendments are required to operate under the Act. We also recommend a review of the societies balance date, as under the Act, annual financial statements, AGMs and filing your annual returns must be completed within 6 months of the societies balance date.
Your new constitution will need to include:
- That a member has consented to becoming a member
- Requirements relating to the election or appointment of the contact persons
- Dispute resolution provisions
- Requirements relating to the roles, functions, powers and procedures of the governing body
- General meeting provisions
If you are thinking of starting an incorporated society before 5 October 2023, you will need to register under the 1908 Act and then re-register under the 2022 Act. We recommend considering waiting until the new Act comes into effect to streamline the process for you.
If you are a trustee of an incorporated charitable trust, you will have the option to re-register under the 2022 Act, or to remain registered as a charitable trust under the Charitable Trusts register.
Our specialist team of lawyers at Todd & Walker Law are well placed to assist you in ensuring that your incorporated society meets the new requirements set out in the 2022 Act. We are happy to help with a review of your current society rules and assistance with bringing these inline with the new Act and the re-registration process.
If you are an incorporated society member, then this is a good time for you to reach out and speak with one of our experienced team members. Contact Peter Sygrove or Jessica Weinberg by calling our office on 03 441 2743.