Incorporation of WVAC Frequently Asked Questions

Why incorporate?

 As an unincorporated association, Woden Valley Alliance Church cannot do any of the following in its own name as it is not a legal entity:

  • Accept gifts – for example tithes and offerings
  • Enter contracts – for example, to buy or sell property
  • Open a bank account
  • Borrow money
  • Take out insurance

These things must be done by individual members or companies as trustees or through an arrangement with the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australia Incorporated (the denomination).

For example, the church property is held by the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australasia Property Trust and the church has a loan through the Alliance Development Fund.

If the church was to incorporate as an association, it would have its own legal entity and could do all the above in its own name.

Reference:

https://www.ourcommunity.com.au/management/management_article.jsp?articleId=18

and

https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/clubs-and-not-for-profits/incorporated-associations/become-an-incorporated-association/should-your-club-incorporate

Why not stay unincorporated and not be subject to government regulation?

The church is already subject to government regulation through the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) which is an Australian statutory body and the national regulator of charities and other not for profits, including churches.

Am I currently personally liable for any decisions I make as a member of the church?

Yes, you are, if you are a member of the church.  However, if the church was to incorporate, your liability would be limited provided you exercised reasonable care in your decision making and you did not act illegally.

Can the church currently sue or be sued?

No, it cannot.  As an unincorporated association, the church cannot sue or be sued as it is not a legal entity.

Is the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australia incorporated?

Yes, it is.  The Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australia – the “denomination” – is incorporated in the A.C.T. as the Christian and Missionary Alliance of Australia Incorporated.  It did so some years ago after obtaining legal advice.

How much does it cost to incorporate and what are the annual costs after incorporation?

The fee payable to the ACT government to incorporate is currently $179. 

The fee payable to the ACT government to lodge the annual return is currently $41.

The annual accounts must be audited.  The fee payable to the auditor will not change due to incorporation.

Are other churches incorporated?

These days most churches are incorporated, unless they are organised along denominational lines, such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches. 

Some examples of Canberra churches and organisations that are incorporated as associations include:

  • The Baptist Union of Australia
  • The Gideons International in Australia
  • Church of Christ (non-denominational)
  • The Anglican Church League
  • Baptist Mid-Missions of Australia
  • Scripture Union (A.C.T)
  • Belconnen Baptist Church
  • Capital Edge Community Church
  • Canberra Austral-Asian Christian Church
  • C3 Church Watson
  • Cornerstone Christian Church
  • Crossroads Christian Church
  • Lyons Church of Christ
  • Nationlight Church
  • Gungahlin Community Church

I have some more questions.  What should I do?

Contact the office on 6287 2033 if you have any more questions.