How to incorporate an association

This page is for: 
Not for profit

The major steps for applying for incorporation are:

  1. Choose a name.
  2. 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
  3. Lodge an application for incorporation with the required accompanying documentation.

Choose a name and check its availability

Groups will need to choose a preferred name for the incorporated association. Incorporated association names must:

  • not be the same as, or too similar to, another registered name;
  • have the word “Incorporated” or “Inc” at the end of the name; and
  • comply with certain other restrictions prescribed in the Associations Incorporation Regulations 2016, such as names which might be offensive or easily confused with other well known entities.

You can check whether the proposed name is available using AssociationsOnline. Simply:

  • Create a user account and log in
  • Click “Lodge Application” 
  • Scroll down and choose the option to “ Check Name”
  • Fill in the form and click submit

Develop a set of rules to set out how your association will operate

Members of incorporated associations need to decide the rules applicable to their incorporated association, its committee of management and to themselves. The rules must include 19 matters specified in Schedule 1 of the Act and must be consistent with the other requirements under the Act.

Groups may use the Model Rules or develop their own rules.

Model Rules

The Model Rules are a standard set of rules prescribed by the regulations and contain provisions for all of the schedule 1 items. If you use the model rules the only details you can alter are:

  • the name of the association;
  • the objects of the association;
  • the quorums for general meetings and committee meetings; and
  • the association’s financial year.

If your association wishes to change the model rules (other than the items above), no matter how minor, the association is considered to be using its own rules.

Lodge an application for incorporation

Application for incorporation can be lodged using AssociationsOnline. In your application, you must indicate whether your association is using the model rules or writing its own rules.

If the association is adopting their own rules, the schedule 1 items must be identified, a full copy of the rules provided along with the prescribed fee.

If the association is adopting the prescribed model rules a statement to this effect and the information about the name, objects, quorums and financial year must be provided along with the prescribed fee.

Once your application is approved, we will forward you a certificate of incorporation.

The certificate of incorporation is evidence of the association’s corporate status and should be kept securely. It will be needed to open bank accounts or access grants from certain funding agencies.   There are also a number of obligations which must be met by an incorporated association, visit the INC Guide for more information. 

Go to the Inc Guide e-book - Becoming an incorporated association

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