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 political parties and other entities are complying with funding and disclosure laws. This includes disclosing relevant political donations.
Division 3C of Part 12 of the Electoral Act 2002 (external link) outlines the annual return requirements.
Do I need to submit an annual return?
Yes. Registered officers of a registered political party must complete and lodge an annual return on behalf of the party. You must do this even if you did not receive any political donations or incur any political expenditure.
You must also submit an annual return for the party's nominated entity, if it has one.
When are returns due?
20 October each year.
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.
Help with VEC Disclosures
Expand the accordion below for instructions on how to submit your return. You can click the pop-out icon in the bottom right corner to open the instructions in a new window.
What information do I need to include?
These details are required for all registered political parties for the financial year (including GST):
- total income
- total disclosed political donations
- total undisclosed political donations (under the disclosure threshold)
- the number of undisclosed political donors for the total undisclosed political donations
- total amounts received other than political donations
- total expenditure
- outstanding debts.
See explanation of requirements below for more information about these items.
You must have your party's annual return audited and include a certificate of audit from a registered company auditor. See audit requirements below for more information.
Explanation of requirements
The reporting range for the annual return is 1 July to 30 June (inclusive).
The total income refers to 'the total amount received by, or on behalf of, the registered political party'.
This includes the amounts disclosed in 'Total disclosed political donations', 'Total undisclosed political donations' and 'Total amounts received other than political donations'
Total disclosed political donations
The total dollar 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 dollars 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:
Number of donors for undisclosed political donations
The number of individual donors that made a political donation under the disclosable threshold for the financial year.
Total amounts received other than political donations
Total amounts received other than political donations are all amounts received by, or on behalf of, the RPP that do not require disclosure. For example, dividends on shares, income of real estate holdings, deposits made to the recipient through a deceased estate, funding, membership fees, annual affiliation fees and/or annual levies.
These examples are acceptable monetary transactions that are not political donations. They do not need to be deposited into the State campaign account but must be accounted for in the 'Total income' and 'Total amounts received other than political donations' fields. More information in relation to State campaign accounts.
If the sum of all amounts received other than 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:
Total expenditure is the total amount of expenses incurred by, or on behalf of, the RPP.
Total outstanding debts
Total outstanding debts incurred by, or on behalf of, the RPP.
If the sum of all outstanding debts to a person or entity during a financial year is equal to or above the disclosure threshold, the annual return must include the following details:
All money received through public funding, administrative expenditure funding or policy development funding must be reported on the annual return. These amounts are required in the 'Total income' field, as well as the 'Total amounts received other than political donations' field.
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.
Membership fees, annual affiliation fee and annual levy
Annual subscriptions paid to an RPP in respect of membership fees of the RPP are considered 'amounts received other than political donations' (and must also be reported in the 'Total income' field).
They are not considered a political donation or gift and must not be deposited in the State campaign account.
Please note: if any of these amounts are deposited into the State campaign account, all disclosure provisions apply and reportable amounts must be disclosed on VEC Disclosures.
Small contributions must be included in the 'Total income' as well as the 'Total undisclosed political donations' fields.
Your return must be audited and include a certificate from a registered company auditor within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
The audit certificate must state that 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.
We encourage you to give your auditor this audit certificate template (PDF).
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 do not submit an annual return you may be fined.
The fine is 200 penalty units.