An annual return is a summary of money received, spent, and owed by a political participant in a financial year. We use annual returns to check that independent candidates and members are complying with funding and disclosure laws. This includes disclosing relevant political donations.
Annual returns are related to the state campaign account you must keep for state election campaigns. More information about state campaign accounts.
Division 3C of Part 12 of the Electoral Act 2002 (external link) outlines the annual return requirements.
Do I need to submit a return?
You must submit an annual return if you received political donations equal or above the disclosure threshold from any single donor during the financial year.
If you have not received any donations equal or above the threshold in a financial year you should declare this in writing to email@example.com.
An annual return is required for the part of the financial year that you were an active political participant.
When are returns due?
20 October each year. If you don't need to submit a return you must let us know in writing by 20 October.
Submissions open 1 July each year.
How do I submit a return?
On VEC Disclosures. You need to set up an account before you can submit your return.
What information is required?
Relating to your state campaign accounts for the financial year (including GST):
- total income
- total disclosed political donations
- total undisclosed political donations (under the disclosure threshold)
- how many donors made these undisclosed political donations.
Do not include any donations received for Commonwealth electoral purposes when calculating your total amounts.
Explanation of requirements
Independent candidates, groups and independent members
The reporting range for the annual return is 1 July to 30 June (inclusive).
The total income refers to the total amount received by you or on your behalf and deposited into your State campaign account.
Total disclosed political donations
The total amount of disclosed political donations that appear on VEC Disclosures. These disclosed political donation amounts must also be included in the 'Total income' field.
When completing the annual return in VEC Disclosures this field is automatically populated and cannot be edited.
Total undisclosed political donations
The total amount of political donations received that have not been disclosed via the VEC Disclosures, including small contributions and funds raised under the disclosable threshold. These undisclosed political donation amounts must also be included in the 'Total income' field.
If the sum of all political donations received from a person or entity during a financial year is equal to or above the disclosure threshold, the annual return must include the following details:
- the full name of the person or entity from whom the amount was received
- the address of the person or entity from whom the amount was received (unless the individual is a silent elector, in which case the address must not be recorded)
- the sum of the amount received.
Number of donors for undisclosed political donations
The number of donors that made a political donation under the disclosable threshold for the financial year.
Amounts received as profit through fundraising must be included in the Total income field. It must also be included in your 'Total disclosed political donations' field or your 'Total undisclosed political donations' field depending on whether the profit amount received from each person was under or over the disclosure threshold.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Where a sum includes GST, the reported amount must include the GST.
Small contributions must be included in the 'Total income' as well as the 'Total undisclosed political donations' fields.
It is not mandatory for independent candidates, groups, or independent elected members to have their annual return audited.
If you do have your return audited we suggest it is done by an independent auditor. The auditor should include a statement confirming the return has been audited according to the Australian Accounting Standards as specified in section 334(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
The certificate should state the auditor:
a) was given full and free access at all reasonable times to all accounts, records, documents and papers relating directly or indirectly to any matter required to be specified in the statement; and
b) examined the material referred to in paragraph (a) for the purpose of giving the certificate; and
c) received all information and explanations that the auditor requested in respect of any matter required to be specified in the statement; and
d) has no reason to believe that any matter stated in the statement is not correct.
Can the public see my annual return?
Yes. We are required to publish an annual return summary on VEC Disclosures by 31 December each year.
We do not publish donor addresses as they are confidential.
What happens if I don't submit an annual return?
If you are required to submit a return and fail to do so you may be fined.
The fine is 200 penalty units.
Can I get help to complete my annual return?
Yes. Follow this checklist (Word).
If you have any questions email our firstname.lastname@example.org or call 131 832.