An incorporated association is a formal legal structure adopted by a broad range of non-profit organisations. Incorporated associations have the word 'incorporated' or the abbreviation 'Inc' in their name. Incorporated associations are subject to state or territory incorporation laws and are administered to by a government body within the relevant state and territory. As a consequence, the operations of an incorporated association are restricted to its home state.
Incorporated associations have the following advantages:
- Suitable for community-based groups.
- Has an identity distinct from the founders and members.
- An inexpensive way to give associations a legal identity which continues despite any membership changes.
- Can operate regardless of changes to its membership.
- Can accept gifts and donations.
- Can enter into contracts.
- Can apply for government grants.
There are several conditions that an organisation wishing to incorporate must meet. These will differ depending on the state/territory in which the organisation seeks to become incorporated.
The significant steps for applying for incorporation are:
- Choose a name and check its availability.
- Adopt a set of rules which comply with the requirements of the Act. An association can choose to prepare its own rules or adopt the prescribed model rules; and
- Lodge an application for incorporation with the required accompanying documentation.