Guidance for Returning Officers administering Local Government Elections in England

Accounting for the election

The costs for running a local government election are paid for by the local authority.1 The local authority will provide you with instructions for accounting for the elections.

Accounting for the election

At a parish council election, the costs for running the election will be paid by the principal area council.2 The principal area council may require the parish council to repay any costs incurred.

Accounting for the election

More information is available in our guidance: Developing plans for the election

Payment of creditors  

You should keep receipts, purchase orders and invoices received before and throughout the election period for all services/work provided, and pay all creditors as soon as possible after the election.

Payment of fees to staff

Income tax

Under tax rules a standard starter checklist, which is issued at the time of appointment, must be completed by all staff working directly for the Returning Officer. It needs to be completed only once rather than reviewed every year. You will need to issue a P60 form to the employee at the end of the tax year.

If you terminate the employment of any of your casual staff following the election and issue them with a P45, then any returning casual staff who work at future elections will need to complete a new standard starter checklist at each new election.  

HMRC real-time information

All election payments made will be subject to HMRC’s real-time information tax payment system. You should ensure that you liaise with your local authority’s finance and HR departments to ensure that you can comply with the tax rules for all your employees, including any temporary and short-term contract staff. Further guidance is available from HMRC

Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension

All employers with staff working in the UK must comply with automatic enrolment requirements. Further guidance is available from the Pensions Regulator.

Last updated: 4 November 2022