Putting the right detail in interest returns

A brief explainer by Michelle Dewberry, Investigations and Compliance Analyst.

Over time the Inspectorate has dealt with a number of non-compliant interest returns. What we’ve found is that sometimes, submitters only include the interests they hold at the date that they submit their return, instead of the interests they held during the return period – which stretches back to the date of their last return. To us, this means that there may be some confusion about the "return period" and what it means.

With mid-year returns due in the coming weeks (on or within 40 days of 30 June), we’d like to remind submitters of the requirement to declare interests held during the return period, even if the interest has expired by the time they submit a new return.

As an example, if you submitted your last return in January, sold your home in March and then submitted a new return in July – you are still required to include the property because you held an interest in it during part of the return period. The same rules apply for other declarable interests such as property holdings and company directorships - irrespective of whether any remuneration, income or other financial benefit was drawn from the interest during the return period.

Anyone who is required to submit a return can generally contact council governance staff for further information and guidance on declarations. Section 81 of the Local Government Act* contains the relevant information on interest return requirements.

*This was superseded by Part 6, Division 3 of the Local Government Act 2020 on 1 May 2020