Notification of filing deadlines
In addition to publishing this article and the online reporting tables, the Commission notifies committees of filing deadlines through reporting reminders called prior notices. Prior notices are distributed exclusively by email, so every committee should ensure that the email address on its Statement of Organization (Form 1) is current. Each committee may list up to two email addresses. To amend the Form 1, electronic filers must submit the Form 1 filled out in its entirety. Paper filers should include only the committee’s name, address, FEC identification number and the updated or changed portions of the form. Committees may also use our online webform to update their information.
The Commission provides prior notices of upcoming filing deadlines as a courtesy to help committees comply with the filing requirements set forth in the Federal Election Campaign Act and Commission regulations. Committee treasurers are responsible for filing committee reports on time. Not receiving a prior notice does not excuse committee treasurers for failing to comply with any filing deadline.
Under the Commission’s mandatory electronic filing regulations, individuals and organizations required to file with the FEC that receive contributions or make expenditures, including independent expenditures, aggregating in excess of $50,000 in a calendar year—or have reason to expect to do so—must file all reports and statements electronically.
Reports filed electronically must be received and validated by the Commission by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the filing date. Electronic filers who file on paper or submit an electronic report that does not pass the Commission’s validation program by that time on the filing deadline will be considered nonfilers and may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative fines.
The Commission’s electronic filing software, FECFile, is free and can be downloaded from the FEC’s website. All reports filed after August 15, 2018, must be filed in version 8.3 of the electronic filing software. Reports filed in previous versions of the software will not be accepted. Filers may also use commercial or privately developed software as long as the software meets the Commission’s format specifications. Committees using commercial software should contact their vendors to ensure their software meets the latest specifications.
Timely filing for paper filers
While political committees and other filers must file their reports on time, the Commission will not process campaign finance reports filed by mail or other delivery services until the agency resumes normal mail operations.
Registered and certified mail
Reports sent by registered or certified mail are considered to be filed on the date of their postmark. Accordingly, quarterly reports sent by registered or certified mail must be postmarked on or before the filing deadline to be considered timely filed. A committee sending its reports by registered certified mail should keep its mailing receipt with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postmark as proof of mailing, because the USPS does not keep complete records of items sent by certified or registered mail.
Reports sent via overnight mail will be considered timely filed if the report is postmarked on or before the filing deadline. “Overnight mail” includes Priority Mail or Priority Express Mail having a delivery confirmation, or an overnight service with which the report is scheduled for next business day delivery and is recorded in the service’s online tracking system. Note that “Express Mail” as referred to in FEC regulations has been renamed “Priority Express Mail” by the USPS. Reports filed via overnight mail will be considered timely filed if the report is received by the delivery service on or before the mailing/filing deadline. A committee sending its reports by Priority Mail or Priority Express Mail, or by an overnight delivery service, should keep its proof of mailing or other means of transmittal of its reports.
Other means of filing
Reports sent by other means—including first class mail and courier—must be received by the FEC before close of business on the filing deadline. Forms may be downloaded from the FEC’s website. Reports submitted by first class mail or courier will be considered filed within 24 hours after the Commission resumes normal mail operations. The FEC does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines, but it may choose not to pursue administrative fines against filers prevented from filing by reasonably unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. See 11 CFR 111.35.
Authorized committees of candidates
House and Senate candidates
All campaigns that have a reporting obligation must file quarterly reports. Generally, an individual becomes a candidate for federal office, thus triggering registration and reporting obligations, when his or her campaign exceeds $5,000 in either contributions received or expenditures made. If the campaign has not exceeded the $5,000 threshold, it is not required to file reports.
All principal campaign committees of presidential candidates must file on either a monthly or a quarterly schedule in 2020. If on January 1, 2020, the committee has received or anticipates receiving contributions aggregating $100,000, or has made or anticipates making expenditures aggregating $100,000, the committee files monthly reports in 2020. Committees which do not anticipate or have not exceeded the $100,000 threshold file quarterly reports in 2020. Presidential committees able to change their reporting schedule and that wish to do so are required to notify the Commission in writing. Committees of presidential candidates who are no longer participating in the election that have exceeded the $100,000 threshold must submit a filing frequency change request if they wish to file on a quarterly schedule; otherwise, they must file on a monthly schedule.
State, district and local party committees
State, district and local party committees that engage in reportable “Federal Election Activity” must file on a monthly schedule in 2020. Committees that do not engage in reportable “Federal Election Activity” may file on a quarterly schedule in 2020.
National party committees
National committees of political parties must file on a monthly schedule in 2020.
Other political committees
Political committees (PACs), including separate segregated funds, committees with non-contribution accounts (also sometimes called Hybrid PACs), independent expenditure-only committees (Super PACs) and other nonconnected committees that filed on a semi-annual basis in 2019 file on a quarterly basis in 2020. Monthly filers continue on the monthly schedule.
Changing filing frequency
PACs may change their filing schedule once a year, but must first notify the Commission in writing (or electronically, if electronic filers). A committee may change its filing frequency only once a year.
The committee will receive a letter from the Commission approving the frequency change.
For more information on 2020 reporting dates:
- Call and request the reporting tables from the FEC at 800-424-9530 (menu option 6) or 202-694-1100; or
- Visit the FEC’s Dates and deadlines web page to access the reporting tables online.
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