An existing co-operative registered in NSW, a company limited by guarantee, or a corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 of the Commonwealth are registrable corporations that can apply to transfer registration to become an incorporated association under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 (the Act). An organisation applying to transfer its incorporation, should follow these steps:
1. Choose a name
NSW Fair Trading will determine if the name is acceptable.
A name will be unacceptable if it is identical or similar to one that is already registered.
Applicants can check if a name is similar to one already registered by searching the Organisation and Business Names search facility on the Australian Security and Investments Commission website.
You can also find out if the proposed name is registered by an incorporated association by doing a free online search through the NSW incorporated associations online register. This provides key information about incorporated associations registered in NSW, including an entity's incorporation name and number, date of incorporation and registration status.
If you intend to reserve a name prior to applying for registration, the Application for reservation of name form is available from the Associations forms page. Additional information on naming an incorporated association is available on the Naming your incorporated association page.
2. Establish objects and constitution
An incorporated association should have objects that set out the purpose and range of activities of the proposed association. Where an association has its own constitution, the objects are usually included in the constitution.
Every incorporated association must have a constitution that addresses each of the matters referred to in Schedule 1 of the Act. For information on the constitution, visit the About the constitution page.
3. Authorise an application for registration of registrable corporation
The application for registration as an incorporated association must be authorised by a special resolution passed by members of the corporation. The registerable corporation must also follow the procedures in the Act under which it is currently registered, before applying for registration as an incorporated association.
4. Apply for registration as an incorporated association
The association's first public officer must lodge with Fair Trading an Application for registration of an incorporated association by a registrable corporation (form A4) together with the set fee. The application must include:
- the proposed name of the association
- a statement of the association's objects
- a copy of the association's proposed constitution or a statement that the association adopts the Model constitution without change
- details of the association's first public officer
- a copy of the special resolution authorising the application for registration
- a document from the regulatory authority that the registrable corporation is currently registered with, declaring that the organisation has complied with the relevant transfer provisions
- include an estimate of the registerable corporation's income and expenditure for the financial year in which the application is made
- include a copy of the registerable corporation’s financial statement for the financial year before the application is made
The application can be lodged:
- by email to together with completed credit card details
- by mail to Registry and Accreditation, PO Box 22, Bathurst NSW 2795
- in person at any Service NSW Centre
5. After Registration
An association that arises from the registration of a registrable corporation is a continuation of, and the same legal entity as, the registrable corporation. The assets, rights and liabilities of the registrable corporation become the assets, rights and liabilities of the association.
After registration, the association’s first committee is responsible for managing the association’s affairs and for ensuring it complies with its obligations under the Act.
The committee must ensure the necessary books and records for the association are established and maintained. See Association records for information on the required books and registers.
Can an association be refused registration?
Fair Trading may refuse to register an association if it is satisfied the association should not be registered by taking into account a number of matters including:
- the objects of the Act
- the proposed constitution and objects of the association
- if its income and/or total assets exceed $5 million or current assets exceed $2 million
- the likely nature and extent of its activities and its dealings with the public, or
- for any other reason that appears sufficient to the Commissioner.
Other things to consider
If the association intends to seek exemption from income tax and other tax concessions, its constitution may need to include specific clauses to meet Australian Taxation Office requirements. For more information on tax exemptions, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.
Australian business number (ABN)
Th Act does not require an incorporated association to have an ABN. However, the association may need one for taxation purposes. For more information on ABNs visit the Australian Business Register website.
How must does it cost to incorporate an association?
Information on current fees is available on the Associations fees page.
Need more information?
Registry and Accreditation
Make an online enquiry
Tel: 02 6333 1400
Free Call: 1800 502 042
PO Box 22
Bathurst NSW 2795