eReturns: Donor Quick Reference Guide: Using eReturns

Updated: 30 October 2012

Using eReturns

Main Menu

Once you have logged in you will see the eReturns main menu.

screen shot of main menu

From the main menu you can start a new return, continue a return which is partially complete, view historical returns and manage your account details.

Your account details are the details which you reviewed and updated when you logged in for the first time.

Completing a return

New Return

Click the 'New Return' button to start completing a new return.

screen shot of new return button

Then choose the return which you would like to complete. The actual list of returns that will appear will be dependent on whether you are an individual or organisation donor and whether you have lodged any returns previously. The example screen below is for an organisation donor.

new disclosure return selection list

Click 'Continue' to launch the return wizard. Similar to when you review your account details you can use the 'Back' and 'Next' buttons to navigate through the screens.

Instructions on how to complete the return will appear at the top of each page.

instructions will be provided at the top of each page

Progress through the return is tracked down the left-hand side.

progress tracker

As you navigate through the wizard, you will be prompted to enter the information which will make up the return.

Step 1 – Organisation Details

On this screen you can update your organisation details. These details have been automatically pre-filled from your account.

NOTE: Individual donors will not see this screen, instead they will be taken directly to the Lodging officer details screen.

organisation donor return screen

Once you have updated your organisation details click 'Next' to move to the Lodging Officer details screen.

lodging officer details screen

On this screen you can review and update your details. Once you have reviewed your details click 'Next' to move to the Related organisations screen or if you are an individual donor you will go to Step 3.

Step 2 – Related Organisations

The first screen that appears will allow you to record other business names that your company may operate under.

business names screen

To record other business names click the '+Add' button at the bottom of the table on the screen. This will launch the 'Add a Business Name' window.

add a business name screen

In the 'Add a Business Name' window you can record any other names under which your company operates. Once you have entered a business name click the 'Add' button to add it to the list. The 'Add a Business Name' window will not close, allowing you to enter additional business names. Once you have finished adding all other business names click 'Close'. Then click 'Next' to move to the Related Organisations screen.

This screen will allow you to record details of related organisations that you are lodging on behalf of.

related organisations screen

To record details of any related organisations use the '+Add' button below the table on the screen. This will launch the 'Add a Related Organisations' window.

add a related organisation screen

You must fill in all of the mandatory fields in this window. Once you have entered the details of the related organisation click the 'Add' button, to add the related organisation to the list. The 'Add a related organisation' window will not disappear, allowing you to start entering the next related organisation. Once you have finished adding all related organisations, click 'Close'. Then click 'Next' to move to the Donations made screen.

Step 3 – Donations Made

This screen will allow you to record details of donations you have made to registered political parties during the financial year.

donations made screen

To record donations, click the '+ Add' button at the bottom of the table on the screen. This will launch the 'Add a donation made' window.

add a donation made screen

In the 'Add a donation made' window you can fill in the details of each donation. For each donation you must include the amount, transaction date and name of the political party the donation was made to. Once you have finished recording the details of a donation, click the 'Add' button, to add the donation to the list. The 'Add a donation made' window will not disappear, allowing you to start entering the next donation.

Once you have recorded all donations, click 'Close'. Then click 'Next' to move to the Donations received screen.

Importing donations made

Importing allows you to upload a spread sheet of transactions into the system, eliminating the need to manually enter each transaction. In order to import donations made you will need a spread sheet (either in MSExcel, CSV or XML format) which contains all of the required information for each donation. To start importing donations click the 'Import' button on the 'Donations made' screen.

import button

This will launch the import screen

upload a list of transactions screen

From here you can use the browse button to select the spread sheet you wish to upload from your computer.

Once you have selected the spread sheet, click 'Upload'.

upload button

Once the system has uploaded your spread sheet it will ask you to match the columns in your spread sheet to the columns in eReturns.

assign data columns

Once you have assigned all the columns, click 'Import Data'.

Now eReturns will ask you to designate some of the values in some of the columns. You will need to assign values that eReturns recognises to some of the data in your spread sheet. See the example below:

match values screen

Once you have matched the values from your spread sheet to values that eReturns will recognise you can click 'Assign'.

eReturns will tell you how many records were successfully imported, and list those which were not successful. You can also export the list of transactions which were not successfully imported from here. To close this window, click 'Close'.

If you choose to export the list of transactions which were not successfully imported you can fix the problems in the data which eReturns has identified and re-import that list. Alternatively, you can use the '+ Add' button to add those transactions manually.

eReturns will now upload the transactions from the spread sheet into the return wizard. Once it is complete you will be able to see the transactions in the list on the page.

Then click 'Next' to move to the Donations received screen.

Step 4 – Donations received

This screen will allow you to record details of the donations you have received. These are donations from other people, that you have used (wholly or partly) to make donations to political parties that you recorded at Step 3–Donations made.

donations received screen

To record donations you have received, click the '+ Add' button at the bottom of the table on the screen. That will launch the 'Add a donation received' window.

add a donation screen

In the 'Add a donation received' window you can fill in the details of each donation received. For each donation that you have received you must include the name and address of the donor, if relevant the ABN and/or ACN, the transaction date and the amount. Once you have finished recording the details of a donation, click the 'Add' button, to add the donation to the list. The 'Add a donation received' window will remain open, allowing you to enter more donations.

Once you have recorded all donations received, click 'Close'. Then click 'Next' to move to the Notes screen.

You can also import donations received. For step by step instructions on importing donations received, refer to the 'Importing donations made' section of this guide.

Step 5 – Notes

The Notes screen allows you to record annotations against the return.

annotations screen

These annotations will be presented on the return as footnotes.

To add an annotation, click the '+Add' button at the bottom of the table on the screen. This will launch the 'Add an Annotation' window.

add an annotation

Enter the text of your annotation and click 'Add' to save it. Click 'Close' once you have entered all your annotations.

When you have finished recording annotations, click 'Next'.

Step 6 – Review

The next screen is the review screen.

review screen

Here you will be presented with an image of what the data in your return will look like. Use the scroll bar on the right of the screen to view all of the pages of the return.

You will notice that there is nothing in the signature or date fields on the front of the return. These fields will only be populated once you have completed the lodgement screen and will appear on the final version of your return.

If you need to make changes to the data in the return, click 'Back'. Once you have reviewed the image of your return and all data is correct, click 'Next'. This will take you to the Sign and Lodge screen.

NOTE: At the bottom of this screen, above the 'Back' and 'Next' buttons is a checkbox that relates to lodging a Notice of Incomplete Return.

Where a donor is unable to obtain all the information required to fully complete a return, a Notice of Incomplete Return may be completed and lodged with the Donor to Political Party Disclosure Return. While it is unlikely that an individual donor would find themselves in circumstances where they would need to complete a Notice of Incomplete Return, an organisation donor may be unable to obtain all the information required to fully complete their return and therefore in those circumstances may need to complete a Notice of Incomplete Return. Should you find yourself in circumstances where it is necessary for you to lodge an incomplete return, checking this box will allow you to lodge a Notice of Incomplete Return.

For more detail on how to complete a Notice of Incomplete Return in eReturns, go to the Lodging a Notice of Incomplete Return section of this guide. For more information about when it is appropriate to lodge a Notice of Incomplete Return please consult the Financial Disclosure Guide for Donors to Political Parties.

Step 7 – Sign and Lodge

Once you have reviewed your return you will be able to lodge it with the AEC.

lodgement screen

On this screen, you will need to tick the box next to the certification. Type your name into the Signature box and type your password into the Password box.

Once you have done this, click 'Lodge' to lodge your return.

Upon lodging your return you will be presented with a confirmation screen.

lodgement confirmation screen

From this screen you may save a PDF copy of your return. The AEC recommends that you save a copy of your return in case you need to print or refer to it at a later date. The unique reference number presented on this screen is also recorded on the return form in the bottom right hand corner. eReturns will also email you a copy of your lodged return by default.

Lodging a Notice of Incomplete Return

eReturns will allow you to lodge a Notice of Incomplete Return online. For more information about when it is appropriate to lodge a Notice of Incomplete Return please consult the Financial Disclosure Guide for Donors to Political Parties.

To lodge a Notice of Incomplete Return in eReturns you will need to tick the checkbox at the bottom of the review screen.

review screen with incomplete return checkbox highlighted

Selecting this box will take you to the Notice of Incomplete Return screen.

notice of incomplete return screen

Here you are required to fill in the fields, detailing the information that is missing from your return, the reason why you were unable to obtain that information, who you believe may have the information which is missing, and why you believe that person has it. Once you have completed all of the fields on the screen, click 'Next' to review the Notice of Incomplete Return.

incomplete particulars review screen

Once you have reviewed your Notice of Incomplete Return you can click 'Next' to go to the Sign and Lodge screen. For detailed instruction on lodging your return and Notice of Incomplete Return please refer to Step 7 'Sign and Lodge' of this guide.

Amending a Return

Returns lodged using eReturns can also be amended using eReturns. To amend a return click the 'View Returns' button on the main menu.

The view returns screen will display.

view returns screen

Use the 'Amend' option in the drop down list next to the return you wish to amend. Only returns lodged online can be amended online.

This will launch the amendment wizard. The amendment wizard is exactly the same as the return wizard, except it already contains all of the data from your original return. To amend something, simply add, edit or delete as appropriate. Once you have finished working your way through the wizard, eReturns will generate an amendment form for you to review which will detail the changes. This amendment form can be lodged just like the original return.