Gifts FAQ

Updated 10 Mar 2016

Gift means each of the following:

  • A disposition of property, including an amount of money, made by a person or organisation to someone else, without consideration in money or money’s worth or with inadequate consideration;
  • The provision of a service, other than volunteer labour, for no consideration or inadequate consideration;
  • The part of an annual subscription paid to a party for membership of the party that is more than $250; and
  • The part of a fundraising contribution that is more than $250 (for further information see the question below "If someone pays to attend a fundraising event, does their entry fee need to be reported?").

A gift does not include:

  • A disposition of property under a will;
  • A gift that is given to an individual in a private capacity for the individual’s private use and the individual does not use the gift solely or substantially for a purpose related to an election;
  • Affiliation fees paid to a party;
  • Compulsory levies paid to a party by a party’s elected representatives;
  • The part of an annual membership fee or fundraising contribution that is less than $250;
  • Administrative expenditure funding paid by the ACT Electoral Commission; or  
  • Election funding paid by an electoral commission.

A gift-in-kind is any product or service of value that is provided, without adequate compensation, to a political entity. Examples of gifts-in-kind include free or discounted room hire, free or discounted electoral advertising, or items provided for a fundraising auction.

The following details for gifts-in-kind need to be recorded:

  • The total value of the gift-in-kind;
  • A description of how the gift was valued;
  • A description of the gift; and
  • The date of receipt of the gift-in-kind.

When a party grouping, associated entity, non-party MLA or non-party candidate grouping receives a gift, or sum of gifts, totalling $1,000 or more during their relevant disclosure period (for further information see the question "What are the relevant disclosure periods?" on the General FAQ page) from the same individual or organisation, the financial representative for that entity is required to submit a return to the ACT Electoral Commissioner. This return must detail the name and address of the giver of the gift, the amount of each gift that contributes to the total sum and the date each amount was received.

If the gift is a gift-in-kind, the return must provide a description of the gift, notionally assign the value of the gift and describe how the gift was valued.

The return must be submitted:

  • In an election year, if the value of the gift or gifts received from a person reaches $1,000 in the financial year between 1 April and 30 June, the declaration must be made to the Electoral Commissioner by 7 July;
  • In an election year, when the capped electoral expenditure period is applicable, if the value of the gift or gifts received from a person reaches $1,000 in the financial year after 30 June and before the end of polling day, the declaration must be made to the Electoral Commissioner 7 days after the total amount received from the person reaches $1,000; and
  • In a non-election year, or in the first quarter (1 January until 31 March) of an election year, if the value of the gift or gifts received from a person reaches $1,000 in the financial year, the declaration must be made to the Electoral Commissioner within 30 days of the end of the financial quarter in which the total amount received from the person reached $1,000.

If the $1,000 cap has been reached through multiple gifts from the same person, then the receipt date is tied to the gift that pushed the total received over the $1,000 threshold.

The reporting requirement is staged in increments of $1,000. If a gift of $1,200 has been reported as having been received from Person A, the next return is not required to be submitted until Person A donates a further $1,000 (in this example, making for a total of $2,200). See the below example for more information.

Penalties apply for failing to submit a complete gift return within the prescribed period and/or for deliberately submitting a false or misleading return.

Example:

Say a party receives a gift of $750 from Person A on 15 November 2014 and receives a further gift of $750 from Person A on 6 March 2015. As the party has now received a total of over $1,000 from the same individual (in this example $1,500), and as the receipt of the gift that pushed the total amount received over the $1,000 threshold was received outside of an election year, the party will be required to submit a return to the Electoral Commissioner declaring both these gifts no later than 30 April 2015 (that is, within 30 days of the end of the financial quarter of the receipt of the second gift).

Then, say Person A gives another gift of $750 on 25 May 2015, but this time to an MLA belonging to the party. The total amount now received by the party grouping is $2,250, but as the increment in the gifts received is only $750, no further return is required. Finally, say Person A gives a gift-in-kind valued at $500 to the party on 2 June 2015. The incremental threshold of $1,000 is now exceeded and the party must provide a return to the Commissioner disclosing the gift received on 25 May 2015 and the gift-in-kind received on 2 June 2015. This return is due no later than 30 July 2015 (that is, within 30 days of the end of the financial quarter of the receipt of the last gift).

The date a gift is said to be received is the earlier of the date the gift of money is receipted or banked. If the gift is a “physical” gift-in-kind, the date the gift is received is taken to be the date the gift came into the possession of the receiver. If a gift-in-kind is a service rendered over a period of time, the date the gift is received is the date on which the value of the service first reaches $1,000 (if the value of the service is less than $1,000, the applicable date would be the date on which the service ceased to be provided).

Note that reporting requirements for gifts received are tied to the entity’s relevant disclosure period (for further information see the question "What are the relevant disclosure periods?" on the General FAQ page). For party groupings and non-party MLAs, this is a financial year.

Example:

Say Person A donates $800 to a party on June 2. Person A then donates a further $500 on July 17. As the second donation was made in a different financial year to the first one, the party is not required to report the details of Person A’s gifts unless Person A donates at least a further $500 before the following June 30. (Note that the total amounts of all gifts and other receipts received by a party of all values must be summed and disclosed as a total amount received in the party’s annual return.)

Yes. All gifts totalling $1,000 or more must be disclosed within the relevant period, regardless of what the gift has been, or will be, used for.

Yes. As of 3 March 3015, a gift from any individual irrespective of his or her place of residence and from any company or organisation can be used for ACT election expenditure by a party grouping, MLA, associated entity, candidate or third-party campaigner.

The cap on donations that applied at the 2012 ACT election and the limitations on who may make donations were removed from 3 March 2015.

A fundraising event includes any event, however described, where any part of the funds raised are retained by a political party, an MLA, an associated entity, a candidate or a third party campaigner. Examples might include a dinner or gala for which a political entity is a financial beneficiary.

Fundraising contributions include raffle tickets, items purchased at a fundraising auction, the cost of a meal or beverage, and entry fees to an event such as fees for attending a conference or seminar.

Fundraising contributions made by a person or organisation, including entry fees for a fundraising event or items purchased at an auction, are not considered a gift if the total amount is $250 or less per fundraising event. Any amount that exceeds $250 is considered a gift to the beneficiary of the fundraising event. If the figure exceeding the $250 cap reaches a total of $1,000 or more, including the cumulative total of multiple fundraising contributions made by the same person or organisation in a financial year, it must be reported as a gift according to the disclosure requirements (for further information see the question above "Do I have to make regular disclosures of gifts received, and by when?").

The $250 threshold applies to the individual or organisation making the fundraising contribution, not the recipient. For example, if Person A buys 2 tickets to a fundraising event valued at $250 each, only $250 of the $500 total is exempt from classification as a gift even though the second ticket is intended for another person.

On an annual return, all receipts deriving from a fundraising event need to be reported. The $250 threshold applies when determining whether these amounts are recorded on the annual return as gifts or as other receipts.

A party, MLA, non-party candidate or associated entity is not permitted to accept anonymous gifts of $1,000 or more.

From 3 March 2015, a party, MLA, non-party candidate or associated entity is not permitted to keep more than $25,000 received as anonymous gifts of less than $1000. For non-party candidate groupings, this restriction applies to their relevant disclosure period (for further information see the question "What are the relevant disclosure periods?" on the General FAQ page). Otherwise, this restriction applies per financial year.

Penalties apply for breaching the above restrictions.