Ending an Incorporated Society

Published 20 December 2023

Between 5 October 2023 and 5 April 2026 incorporated societies registered under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 will need to re-register under the new Incorporated Societies Act 2022.

Some societies may take this opportunity to think about winding up. The society may not be very active anymore, it could be struggling to have a membership base, or the society has completed the purpose it was initially set up for.

If you choose not to re-register the under the new Act, you will need to wind up your incorporated society before 5 April 2026. There are a couple of options on how to do it. Your rules document (constitution) may set out the process and this could vary from dissolution or having the society put into liquidation. Some rules documents will specify that any surplus assets will need to be distributed to another charity or for a similar charitable purpose.

If you are ending the society, you will also need to de-register it and have it removed from the Charities Register. You can find some more information about the deregistration process here.(external link)


If the society has no assets or liabilities (debts), it can apply to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies to be dissolved and removed from the register. Before making the request, the society must deal with any financial matters as specified in its rules and the requirements of the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. 

You can find out more information about what you’ll need to provide and how to apply for dissolution on this page.(external link)


An incorporated society can be put into liquidation either by its members(external link) or by the High Court(external link). The process involves distributing the society’s assets and bringing it to an end. Liquidation means that the activities of the society cease, any debts are paid and any remaining assets are distributed according to the wind-up clause in its rules document. Liquidation, in most cases, is associated with financial difficulty, but it can also be used when there are not enough members to continue operation or operations have been suspended for 12 months or more.

You can find out more information about the process of liquidation, the role of the liquidator and filing requirements on this page.(external link)