Organisation : Elections Department Singapore
Facility : Political Donations
Country : Singapore
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Political Donations : https://www.electionin.org/uploads/1828-keyfeatures.pdf
Home Page : http://www.eld.gov.sg/homepage.html
Political Donations :
Permissible Donors :
A permissible donor is
(1) any individual who is a citizen of Singapore and is not less than 21 years of age;
Related : Elections Singapore Electoral Divisions Types : www.electionin.org/369.html
(2) a Singapore-controlled company1 which carries on business wholly or mainly in Singapore; or
(3) in relation to a candidate, any political party he is standing for at an election. Donations other than those from permissible donors are considered impermissible donations.
These persons are not permissible donors :
(i) Permanent Residents;
(ii) Singapore citizens who are below 21 years of age; and
(iii) Unincorporated associations which include businesses, societies, trade unions, mutual benefit organisations, professional firms, charities, co-operatives, corporation soles and incorporated trusts.
Anonymous Donations :
** A donation is considered anonymous under the Act only if the recipient is unable to ascertain the identity of the person giving the donation e.g $20 in cash received anonymously by mail.
** Donations from donors who request recipients not to reveal their identities are not considered anonymous.
The total amount of anonymous donations a political association or a candidate and his election agent or (as the case may be) principal election agent is allowed to accept must be less than S$5,000 within the following respective periods:
(1) In the case of a political association, within any financial year of the political association.
A political association may accept anonymous donations of aggregate value up to S$4,999.99 in each of its financial year.
If a political association receives a single anonymous donation of S$5,000 or more in the form of a cheque, the political association cannot accept the donation. The political association should return the cheque to the bank within 30 days of receipt of the donation.
(2) In the case of a candidate and his election agent or (as the case may be) principal election agent, within the period beginning on the date 12 months before the preelection declaration (which is filed just before Nomination Day) and ending on the date of the post-election declaration (which must be filed after Polling Day).
Meaning of Donations :
Donations include goods and services, money2, property, subscription fees, affiliation fees or property and loan facilities provided on less than commercial terms.
If a person buys a ticket to a fundraising event by a political association, the price paid is a donation.
** The printing service of a printing company offered free of charge to a political association is considered as a donation from the company to the political association.
** The political association should ensure that the company is a permissible donor before accepting the service.
** It should keep record of the donation and reflect the donation in its subsequent Donation Report to the Registrar of Political Donations if the value of the donation is S$10,000 or more.
** Not all donations to a candidate or an aspiring candidate are regulated.
** Only donations made for the purposes of promoting the person’s election at a presidential election or parliamentary election will be governed by the Act.
The following categories are not considered as donations under the Act :
(1) airtime during lawful political broadcast.
(2) postage-free election communications authorised by written law.
(3) voluntary manpower and services provided by individuals.
(4) interest accruing on deposits of donations, which are pending attempts to return to the donor or any other person acting on his behalf.
** If an individual offers his professional service e.g. free accounting service, to a political association, his service can be considered voluntary and not a donation to the political association.
** There is no need for the political association to report to the Registrar of Political Donations the service rendered by the individual.
** However, if the accountant gets his employees to provide the service to the political association, the service rendered by his employees to the political association is considered a donation from the accountant to the political association.
** The value of the donation is the cost that the political association would otherwise have to pay to get the same service on a commercial basis.
** If the individual is self-employed or takes leave from his employer to provide his service to the political association, as long as he volunteers his services in his own time, it would not be regarded as a donation.
Value of donations :
The value of any donation that is provided or given at no cost is the market value of the donation in question.
The value of any donation in kind is :
(a) the price paid for the donation; or
(b) the difference between the price paid and the market value of the donation, if the price paid is lower than market value.
The lowest price charged for an equivalent amount of goods or services at the time the donation is received by the recipient is the market value of the goods or services in question.
** If a printer provides campaign banners at no charge, the market value would be what the printer would normally charge, including GST, for those signs.
** The price paid or market value of goods and services includes GST where applicable.
** The benefit derived from a loan given on preferential interest rates is a donation.
** The value of that benefit is the difference between the interest calculated based on the commercial interest rate and the interest calculated based on the preferential interest rate on the loan.
Reporting of Donations :
The following groups of people are required to submit a Donation Report and a Declaration Form to the Registrar of Political Donations :
(1) political parties;
(2) organisations Gazetted as political associations under the Act;
(3) candidates of any presidential or parliamentary elections and their election agents; and
(4) donors who have made multiple small donations with an aggregate value of S$10,000 or more to a political association in a calendar year.
The timely submission of the Donation Report and Declaration Form is mandatory. Failure to comply with the submission requirements and making a false declaration are offences under the Act.