Incorporated associations

A not-for-profit group can incorporate to set up a legal identity separate from its members. Features of an incorporated association include:

  • lodged documents are kept on a public register
  • it can sue and be sued – giving some protection for individual members
  • it can enter into contracts
  • affairs are usually run by a committee.

Financial records

All incorporated associations must record and explain the transactions of the association and their financial position. Prescribed associations have additional financial requirements.

Incorporated associations must follow the current legal standards of accounting and financial reporting.

Refer to accounts and audits for details about reporting the association's finances and conducting an annual audit.

Association's name

The association’s full name must appear on all official documents, including:

  • business letters
  • accounts and receipts
  • official notices
  • publications
  • cheques.

A common seal – stamp showing the full name of the association – is also needed and acts as a signature.

Committee roles

Roles in an incorporated association usually include:

  • public officer – primary contact for association
  • chair – presides at association and committee meetings
  • secretary – responsible for all correspondence
  • treasurer – income and financial records
  • committee members.

Public officer

Incorporated associations must have a public officer. This person signs most of the forms and documents and should understand what is needed under the Associations Incorporation Act 1985. The public officer must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • a resident of South Australia.

Notify CBS within one month if a new public officer is nominated or if the existing officer changes their address. Late fees apply if the association is without a public officer for longer than a month.

Further information about public officer responsibilities (PDF 374KB)

Notify CBS of public officer's details

Winding up an incorporated association

If your association has a surplus not exceeding $5000, complete the online application form for deregistration of incorporated association.

Apply now

If your association has surplus assets which exceed $5000, you must lodge your winding up report and Solvency Declaration application with CBS via your liquidator.

Winding up report and Solvency Declaration with surplus assets more than $5000 (PDF 3.1MB)

Annual general meetings

The first annual general meeting (AGM) must be held within 18 months, and no more than six months after association’s end of financial year. All other AGMs must be held no more than five months after its end of financial year.

Further information - Administration of affairs for incorporated associations (PDF 570KB)

Contact CBS Associations and Cooperatives


Phone: 131 882

In person:
91 Grenfell Street

GPO Box 1719
Adelaide SA 5001

Was this page useful?

Take a moment to tell us why.

If you need a response, send an enquiry instead.

Page last updated 23 December 2019

Provided by:
Department of Human Services
Last Updated:
Printed on:
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2020