Annual returns


The information lodged with the Commission

The annual return includes:

  • a declaration about the organisation’s register of members
  • the total number of members of the organisation as at 31 December of the previous year
  • information about offices and the people holding them (‘office-holders’)
  • information about branches and their street addresses (if there are branches)
  • the street address of the organisation
  • information about any elections scheduled in the calendar year
  • information about members by virtue of s 151 agreements with a state union (if there are any)
  • a declaration that the information lodged correctly reflects the organisation’s records.

The declarations must be signed by the Secretary, or any other prescribed officer who is required by the organisation or its rules to keep the register of members. 

 Read more about the requirements in our annual returns factsheet.


Finding annual returns

Annual returns are published on this website and can be downloaded by the public, including members of registered organisations.

 Activity: Downloading an annual return

Select any registered organisation from the online list
From the table of documents on the organisation’s page, locate the previous years' annual return and click to download a copy. (Hint: you can filter the documents in the table by ‘document type’ using the drop down list at the top of the table)
Scroll down to the bottom of the document you have downloaded to view the annual return. The documents are in chronological order, with the newest lodgements/correspondence on top and the oldest at the bottom. 
The document you have downloaded may be a combination of multiple documents. It may include:

  • the filing letter (describes any non-compliance issues that have been identified)
  • the lodgement of any changes that have occurred after the annual return was signed (known as ‘notifications of change’ or NOC).

 Activity: Compliance check

Review the annual return you have downloaded and compare it to the list of information above
Has the registered organisation included the required information in its annual return? 
Read the filing letter (this is published in the same file, immediately after the annual return).
Did the assessment identify any non-compliance issues? 

 Complete the annual return e-learning module.

What we do


Timeframes relevant to the information 

The information lodged in the annual return relates to a number of different timeframes. One of the most common mistakes with annual returns is misunderstanding what timeframes apply to each piece of information. 

Get an understanding of the timeframes through the annual returns timeline


How to lodge 

Most registered organisations use a template to lodge their annual return:

The templates have been designed to help organisations include all the information required, and make the correct declarations. 

Annual returns are lodged by emailing them to

Email your annual return questions to


Your turn! Practice what you’ve learnt 

Balancing transparency and privacy

Registered organisations must keep and lodge records about the address of office-holders. You also know the annual return is published on this website, and there’s a requirement to update records and notify the Commission of any changes (for example, if an address changes).

Question: What is best practice record-keeping for the address of office-holders?

It is recommended that registered organisations keep a professional address on its officer record (such as the organisation or branch office) as their address for this purpose. This will help to protect private information like residential addresses. It also means the organisation doesn’t need to update their records every time an officer moves house!

When are elections due?

Your registered organisation has scheduled elections every year. In 2020 the scheduled election for the office of President began, but the election was still running in February 2021. In 2021, your organisation has scheduled elections for the committee of management (6 offices). Your organisation also had a casual vacancy election for the Treasurer.

Question: What elections must be listed on the 2021 annual return?

Only the scheduled election for the committee of management (6 offices) should be listed on the organisation’s 2021 annual return. Unscheduled elections are not listed on annual returns (i.e. for casual vacancies, insufficient nominations from previous elections, or for a new office/position). In this example, the scheduled election for the President that started in 2020 must be listed in the organisation’s 2020 annual return. You can find out the timing of scheduled elections from the organisation’s rules.

Remember: If certain information changes in the annual return the registered organisation must update their records and lodge a notification of change. These requirements are closely linked. Go to module 3 about notifications of change.

Back to the dashboard


Go to module 3: Notifications of change

What we do  

Additional resources