Obviously the structure an organisation should choose is a matter to be determined by the members or proposed members of that organisation. By reading all of the above information the organisation should be in a position to make this decision.
Factors to consider are as follows:
- the amount of money available for this purpose;
- the length of time the organisation anticipates being in existence;
- the type of activity to be carried on;
- the amount of property to be held or purchased;
- the types of contracts or transactions that will be entered into;
- the amount of money or income that will be generated;
- the extent of liability that members are willing to accept;
- control and management.
Cheap and simple?
For most community organisations, incorporating as an association will be the cheapest and simplest method of obtaining limited liability for the members. Organisations that wish to distribute a portion of their income to members as dividends or profit are able to do that as a co-operative, but not under the other forms of incorporation described here.
Large amounts of money or property
Large organisations or those responsible for large amounts of money or property that are refused registration as an incorporated association would have to consider the alternative forms of incorporation.
If the organisation is set up for a short time only, and is not entering into transactions of any financial significance, then remaining an unincorporated association may be the best way of operating.
Seeking professional and legal advice
As the registration or incorporation procedure is a most important step for any organisation, professional help may be needed to carry out the organisation’s decision. Again this will depend on the funds available. If the organisation explains the situation, and the solicitor is agreeable, it may be possible to obtain a reduction in the scheduled fees for this type of work. There are a number of community legal centres that may be willing to discuss the pros and cons of the decision the organisation has made and to give an overview of the documents, forms and so on before they are lodged.
In this situation, most of the groundwork should already be done and the legal centre would review the documents to ensure that they are satisfactory. If the centre is unable to help, for whatever reason, they may be in a position to refer the organisation to a solicitor who is likely to charge a reduced fee. When the organisation’s personnel are not in a position to draft the relevant documents, forms, and so on or if it is not possible to have a review of these documents performed by one of the community legal centres, the Law Society of Tasmania may refer the organisation to a solicitor who specialises in this area.