Civic candidates face fiscal accounting issues

Rules spelled out as to how candidates must keep track of their expenses and fiscal support.

I read a recent newspaper article the other day which indicated that potential candidates had picked up 50 nomination packages for the position of Kelowna city councilor while 11 packages were handed to people interested in running for mayor.

In Kelowna, people will elect eight city councilors, a mayor and four school trustees.

In West Kelowna, voters there will elect six councilors and the mayor.

If individuals should choose to run for local public office, there are some financial requirements they need to be aware of.

The candidates are required to comply with the Local Government Act Part 3, Local Government Election Regulation, BC Reg 390/93, Financial Disclosure Act and Financial Disclosure Act Reg 32/2001, which explain the requirements for keeping financial records.

There are slightly different requirements for those candidates that are involved with a specific political party as opposed to those who are running for municipal council.

The contributions to a political party or for a provincial candidate are deductible as a tax credit for tax purposes, while contributions to our municipal candidates are not.

First, let’s start with the nomination process.

Each candidate is required to submit a nomination document to the chief elections officer that includes the signature of at least 25 voters of the local electoral district nominating the candidate for election and submit the current registration fee which is usually about $100.

The trustees need to be nominated by at least two voters of the school district. The prospective candidate is also required to file a Statement of Disclosure of financial assets.

At the time of filing the nomination document with the chief election officer, the candidate could appoint individuals to assist with the election campaign and to represent the candidate when the candidate is unable to appear in person.

This representative could be an Official Agent a Financial Agent, or both. Each candidate is required to have a financial agent.

If one is not appointed for that task, the candidate is deemed to be their own financial agent.

A financial agent you must immediately open a bank account used only for the funds related to the election campaign.

The duties of the financial agent are to record political contributions, income, election expenses  and other expenditures to comply with the Financial Disclosure Act.

Candidates may receive monetary (cash) contributions or in-kind contributions. Any candidate cannot receive an anonymous contribution of more than $50.

If an anonymous amount over $50 is received, the entire amount must be turned into the government.

Indirect contributions through a third party are not permitted.

The name and addresses of the contributors need to be recorded.

If the contributor is a corporation, then the names of two officers of the corporation need to be recorded.

Expenses should be classified into the following categories—campaign advertising and other communication; operating the campaign office; conventions and events; research and opinion polling and campaign related transportation.

There are no restrictions on how much you can spend on your campaign. If you receive a discount on an expense, the difference needs to be recorded as a campaign contribution.

Any excess funds over expenditures at the end of the election are paid back to the candidate for his/her own contributions; donated to a local charity or given to the chief elections officer in trust for the next campaign.

The financial agent is also required to compile the campaign financing disclosure statement within 120 days after voting day, whether you were successful in the election or not.

Part of the disclosure statement includes a summary of election expenses organized by expense class. This statement is submitted to the electoral officer and is filed in the local government records.

This statement remains on file for seven years and is available to any member of the general public who wishes to view it. The Official Agent becomes the campaign manager and can act as a contact for the chief election officer when you are out of town.

The Official Agent may appoint scrutineers who may represent their candidate at a voting place to observe the voting procedures and scrutinize the counting process.

The official City of Kelowna election website is kelowna.ca/election. The official twitter hashtag is #kelownavotes.

The municipal election takes place the third Saturday of November, which this year will be  Nov. 19.

Gabriele Banka is a Certified General Accountant and the owner of Banka & Company Inc.

250-763-4528

info@bankaco.com

 

Kelowna Capital News