If there are no transactions during an election period, an email is sent via the EDS with a link to submit a Nil Return. Alternatively, a Nil return can be submitted manually at any time after the electoral event. Select ‘Next’ at the bottom of the periodic return lodgement page and then select ‘Submit Nil Return’ at the bottom right of the Returns Summary page.
Periodic returns are required for specific election periods. In the Disclosure Period section, select the reporting period or event name from the dropdown list. The return commencement and conclusion dates will automatically be filled in, however you must check the commencement date and amend if necessary.
Candidates must enter the details of all electoral expenditure for the election incurred by, or with the authority of, the candidate, as per section 283 of the Electoral Act 1992. Click the “+Payments” button under the disclosure period section and fill in all the form details; note that all fields with a red asterisk are mandatory.
Once you have completed these (if required), click ‘Next’.
Pro-tip: If you have multiple expenditure, you can use the bulk upload template.
The Returns Summary section will show the total of all gifts and loans that you have already reported as received during the disclosure period. In addition to this, you need to fill out;
- The total Under Threshold Amount of Gifts received: Enter the total amount of gifts received during the disclosure period that were under the threshold amount and have not already been reported in the EDS.
- The number of Entities which made Gifts: Enter the total number of entities that made gifts, including entities that made gifts under the threshold amount. Note that two or more gifts from the same person or organisation count as one.
- The total Under Threshold Amount of Loans received: Enter the total of all loans received during the disclosure period that were under the threshold amount and have not already been reported in the EDS. Loans from financial institutions are not reportable.
- The number of Entities which made loans: Enter the total number of entities that made loans, including entities that made loans under the threshold amount. Note that two or more loans from the same person or organisation count as one.
Pro-tip: If you received a gift or loan equal to or above the threshold amount, you need to report it separately before finalising the periodic return.
Also it is important that all the gifts/loans are reconciled before lodging the periodic return, as all the unreconciled returns from donors will be captured.
Unless stated otherwise, you must upload a certificate of audit signed by a qualified auditor. To do this, click ‘Download Audit Certificate’ to download a copy of the certificate template.
When the certificate has been filled and signed by a qualified auditor, click ‘Attach Audit Certificate’ to attach the completed certificate. You can save the return as a draft while the certificate is being completed. Click ‘Save Draft’ and the return will then be accessible through the Returns>Drafts menu.
You may be able to request an Audit Waiver. If this is the case, you will see a ‘Request Audit Waiver’ button at the bottom left of the screen. If you wish to request an audit waiver, you will be asked to provide a reason. Fill in the reason and click ‘Request an audit waiver’.
Once the request for audit waiver is made, it will be processed by ECQ representatives. The fact of the request does not guarantee your request is approved, and if rejected, you still will be obligated to attach the audit certificate prior to submitting your return.
When you have completed the form and attached your Audit Certificate (if required), click ‘Submit’, or ‘Save Draft” to return later.
Pro-tip: If you want to provide a report from EDS to auditor, click on “Defer Audit Certificate Attachment” tick box, and “submit”.
It will show up as PACA status, and click on “Action”, “View” and “Export CSV” to produce report. Once you receive audit certificate, you can click “Action”, “Edit” and “attach the Audit Certificate” and “Amend” to finalise the lodgement.