Section 26 Electoral Act 1997 requires details of contributions for political purposes, in excess of €5,079 in aggregate, to any political party, member of the Dáil or Seanad, MEP or candidate in any Dáil, Seanad or European election, made by the company in the year to which the annual return relates (i.e. the period since the effective date of the previous year's annual return, up to and including the effective date of the current return), to be declared in the annual return (Form B1) and directors’ report of the company in respect of that year.
The particulars must be sufficient to identify the value of each such donation and the person to whom the donation was made. A wide definition of a donation is set out in section 22 and 46 of the 1997 Act, it includes but is not limited to, services supplied without charge, a donation of property or goods or the free use of same or indeed attending as a paying guest at a fund raising event.
As of the 7 November 2013 the aggregate amount is being reduced from €5,079 to €200
This will mean that all annual returns dated after 7 November 2013 and financial statements with year ends on or after 7 November 2013 may be more likely to have donations disclosed on them. This information will be set out in the directors’ report of your financial statements. It must also be disclosed on your annual return form which is filed annually with the Companies Registration Office. A copy of a company’s annual return is available for inspection by any member of the public for a nominal fee.
It is the responsibility of the directors of the company to ensure that information on a company’s annual return form is correct and accurate. In instances where Grant Thornton prepare and file annual returns on your behalf we will request you to provide us with details of all donations for disclosure on your annual return and we will be reliant on you to provide us with the correct and up-to-date information.
The donations must be disclosed for the period up to the date of the annual return form. For example if a company has a financial year ended 31 December 2012, its annual return form will most likely be made up to 30 September 2013. All donations made between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013 must be provided for disclosure.