Register as an incorporated association

On this page:

Requirements for incorporation

Size and type of organisation

To become an incorporated association, your club, community group or organisation must:

  • have at least five members
  • not operate for the profit of its members (although an incorporated association can provide services or benefits to its members).

Choose a name

You must choose a name that reflects the purpose of the association.

Create rules and purpose

Your association must have a written set of rules, also known as a constitution, which deals with the 23 matters set out in Schedule 1 to the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (the Act).

The rules also include the association’s purpose; this is what the association intends to achieve. For example, the purpose for a junior football association may be:

  1. To provide an opportunity for the youth of our area to participate in Australian Rules Football and enhance their health and wellbeing through organised sport.
  2. To provide for the health, welfare and wellbeing of players, supporters and spectators.

For more information on how to create rules for your association, view our Incorporated association rules page.

Vote to incorporate the association

In order to incorporate, the association must hold a meeting to vote on whether to do so. All members must be given at least 21 days notice of the meeting.

At this meeting, a majority of votes cast by members must:

  • authorise a person, who is at least 18 years old and lives in Australia, to incorporate the association
  • approve proposed rules that comply with the Act, or approve adoption of the model rules.

Unless the association nominates another secretary, the person who lodges the application for incorporation becomes the first secretary of the incorporated association.

Unless the rules specify otherwise, the committee members of the unincorporated association form the first management committee of the incorporated association. If the person who lodges the application is not the secretary, that person will become a delegate of the association. For more information, view our Delegates of incorporated associations page.

Other things to consider

Tax exemptions

If your association is seeking exemption from income tax and other tax concessions, you might need to add specific clauses to the association’s rules to meet Australian Taxation Office requirements. To check before you incorporate, visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

Australian Business Number (ABN)

Your association does not have to have an ABN but it might need one for tax purposes. To check, visit the Australian Business Register website.

Vesting of property

If a founding member is holding property on behalf of the association before its incorporation, then the property will belong to the association after incorporation.

If that property is land, the association will need to make an application in accordance with the Transfer of Land Act 1958 for the title to be in the association’s registered name.

Liquor licensing

If your organisation wants to sell alcohol to your members, or allow them to 'bring your own' (BYO) liquor onto your club premises, you will need a liquor licence. For more information, visit the Select the right club licence page on the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation website.

Lodge an application

You can only lodge an application on myCAV if you have been authorised to do so by your committee.

Before you start: checklist

To prepare your application, you will need to:

  • read the Requirements for registration (above)
  • check your organisation’s eligibility
  • have an electronic copy ready (Word, PDF, or RTF) of the proposed rules of the association (unless your association is adopting the model rules) the details ready for any trusts that affect the associations
  • a debit or credit Visa or MasterCard ready to pay the application fee. You can also pay by cheque in person using Post Billpay at a Post Office. If you choose to pay using Post Billpay, we will send an invoice to your email address and you will have 14 days to make the payment.

Once you have these ready, the person authorised to apply for incorporation must complete and lodge the online application to incorporate an association (including paying the fee).

Note: The online application process includes creating a myCAV account. This is our new standard way to apply to incorporate, update details, and submit annual statements for incorporated associations. There is no fee to create an account, and you will be guided through this as part of the online application.

After you lodge your application

When an application to incorporate an association is accepted, a certificate of incorporation showing the name of the incorporated association, registration number and date of incorporation, and a receipt of payment, will be emailed to the secretary and the person lodging the application.

You can download and print additional copies of the certificate of incorporation and copies of your association’s rules from your myCAV account at no additional cost.

Need help?

View our How to register to become an incorporated association video on our myCAV videos page.

If you are having trouble using myCAV, send an email explaining the problem to cav.registration.enquiries@justice.vic.gov.au.

Last updated: 24/08/2016

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