Where a donor is unable to obtain all the information required to fully complete a return, a Notice of Incomplete Return must be completed and lodged with the Donor to Political Party Disclosure Return.
Where it is necessary to submit a Notice of Incomplete Return:
The lodgement of a Notice of Incomplete Return does not relieve a donor of the responsibility of making reasonable efforts to obtain the information required to complete the return.
The Act is strongly worded, making it clear that resort to the lodgement of a Notice of Incomplete Return under section 318(1) is a last option. Section 318 demands diligence from persons completing disclosure returns. Complete and accurate disclosure is a legislative requirement and meeting that responsibility must be treated as an essential activity and accorded the necessary priority.
It is the responsibility of the person seeking to rely upon a Notice of Incomplete Return to prove that they have, in fact, been 'unable' to obtain the required information. The AEC needs to be satisfied that all reasonable attempts have been made to obtain the missing information before it accepts a Notice of Incomplete Return.
The AEC may assess whether the lodgement of a Notice of Incomplete Return was used by a donor to avoid their responsibilities under the Act. In any such case the donor will be considered to not be able to claim protection under section 318 against prosecution for the offence of having lodged an incomplete return.