In this month’s Christian Media Law Notes we begin a series on Board members’ responsibilities, and discuss a proposed cap on salary sacrificed fringe benefits.
Christian Media Law Notes July 2015
ACNC GOVERNANCE STANDARDS
‘To act with reasonable care and diligence’
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has established five governance standards for charities. The last of these standards concerns the duties of board members or other responsible persons to their charities – in other words, their fiduciary duty. This is one of the highest standards of care imposed and means that board members must not put their personal interests before the interests of the charity or profit from their position, unless the charity consents.
Over the next six months in six different articles we will examine the significant duties of board members of registered charities. In the months to come we will deal with the duty of board members:
- to act in the best interest of the charity and for a proper purpose;
- not to improperly use information or their position;
- to manage financial affairs responsibly;
- to disclose and manage conflicts of interest; and
- not to allow a charity to operate while insolvent.
The topic for this month is the duty of board members to act with reasonable care and diligence. But what does this look like? To better understand what this means for board members, it is helpful to break it down into four sub-categories.
1. Prepare for and attend meetings
2. Become familiar with the charity’s business
3. Ask questions
4. Make considered and independent decisions.
Limiting FBT Concessions on Salary Sacrificed Entertainment Benefits
As mentioned last month, the federal budget placed a cap on the ‘meal entertainment’ benefits (including holidays, cruises, weddings, and meals and alcohol in restaurants) available for salary packaging to charity and not-for-profit sector workers. These benefits are to be subject to a new reportable grossed-up exemption cap of $5,000 from 1 April 2016.
A consultation paper outlining the federal Treasury’s draft legislation proposing the introduction of the cap has been made available for comments.