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Advances of personal funds

General rule

When an individual uses his or her personal funds (or personal credit card) to pay for a committee expense, that payment is generally considered a contribution from that individual if he or she is not reimbursed by the committee within certain time limits: 30 days after payment by cash or personal check; or 60 days after the closing date of the billing statement on which the charges first appear, if the amount was charged to a personal credit card. For example, an in-kind contribution results if a committee staff member or volunteer pays for postage, office supplies or campaign materials with his or her personal funds and is not reimbursed.

Travel exception

When an individual uses personal funds to pay for his or her own travel expenses (transportation, food and lodging), the payments are not considered contributions if they fall under the travel exception.

Exempt travel

An individual may spend up to $2,000 per calendar year on his or her own transportation expenses for party-related travel without making a contribution, and a volunteer may spend unlimited amounts for his or her normal subsistence expenses (food and lodging) while volunteering.

Reporting reimbursed advances of personal funds

When a volunteer or a committee staff member uses his or her personal funds or personal credit to pay a vendor for an expense and is later reimbursed by the committee, special reporting rules apply.

Travel expenses reimbursed within 30 or 60 days

When an individual is traveling on behalf of a party committee, no contribution results when the committee reimburses the individual for travel expenses within the following time periods:

  • If the individual paid with cash or a personal check, within 30 days from the date the expense was incurred.
  • If the individual paid with a credit card, within 60 days of the closing date on the credit card billing statement. 

Reimbursed within time limit and in same reporting period

When the committee makes a reimbursement within these time limits, the committee reports the advance and reimbursement as follows:

  • The original advance is not reported; and
  • The reimbursement is reported as an operating expenditure on Line 21(b).

Reimbursed within time limit but in later reporting period

Note that, if the reimbursement is made within the appropriate time limit but not within the reporting period in which the advance was made, the committee must report the advance on Schedule D as a debt if it exceeds $500.

Once the reimbursement is actually made, the committee reports it as an operating expenditure and itemizes it on Schedule B if reimbursements to any one person exceed $200 for the calendar year.

Travel advances not reimbursed within 30 or 60 days

Not reimbursed within time limit but within same reporting period

Travel advances that are not reimbursed within the appropriate 30- or 60- day time limit but that are reimbursed within the reporting period in which the advance is made are considered contributions and must be reported as follows:

  • Report the original advance as a memo entry contribution on Schedule A if the total of the advance plus any other contributions made by the same person within the calendar year, minus any reimbursements made in the reporting period, exceeds $200; and
  • Report the reimbursement as an operating expenditure and, if reimbursements to that person exceed $200 in the calendar year, itemize it on Schedule B (with a cross- reference to the memo entry on Schedule A for the advance—if the advance was itemized).

Not reimbursed within time limit and not within same reporting period

Travel advances that are not reimbursed within the appropriate 30 -or 60- day time limit and that are not reimbursed within the reporting period in which the advance was made must be reported as follows:

  • Report the original advance as a memo entry contribution on Schedule A if the total of the advance plus any other contributions made by the same person within the calendar year, minus any reimbursements made in the reporting period, exceeds $200;
  • Report the amount of the advance outstanding at the end of the reporting period as a debt on Schedule D if it exceeds $500 or has been outstanding for more than 60 days; and
  • Report the reimbursement as an operating expenditure and, if reimbursements to that person exceed $200 in the calendar year, itemize it on Schedule B (with a cross-reference to the memo entry on Schedule A for the advance—if the advance was itemized).

Nontravel advances made and reimbursed within same reporting period

Nontravel advances that are made and reimbursed within the same reporting period are considered contributions and must be reported as follows:

  • Do not report the original advance unless, at the end of the reporting period, the amount of previous contributions in the calendar year from the person making the advance plus the amount of the advance minus the amount of the reimbursement is greater than $200 (i.e., previous contributions + the advance - the reimbursement > $200). In that case, report the advance as a memo entry contribution on Schedule A; and
  • Report the reimbursement as an operating expenditure and, if reimbursements to that person exceed $200 in the calendar year, itemize it on Schedule B (with a cross-reference to the memo entry on Schedule A for the advance—if the advance was itemized).

Nontravel advances made and reimbursed in different reporting periods

Nontravel advances that are to be reimbursed in a later reporting period must be reported as follows:

  • Do not report the original advance unless, at the end of the reporting period, the amount of previous contributions in the calendar year from the person making the advance plus the amount of the advance minus the amount of the reimbursement is greater than $200 (i.e. previous contributions + the advance - the reimbursement > $200). In that case, report the advance as a memo entry contribution on Schedule A;
  • Report the amount of the advance outstanding at the end of the reporting period as a debt on Schedule D if it exceeds $500 or has been outstanding for more than 60 days, and
  • Report the reimbursement, once made, as an operating expenditure and, if reimbursements to that person exceed $200 in the calendar year, itemize it on Schedule B (with a cross- reference to the memo entry on Schedule A for the advance—if the advance was itemized).

Special rule for reporting reimbursements to staff (for travel and subsistence advances)

If the total amount reimbursed to the staff member is $500 or less, the committee should report the staff member as the payee. If the total amount exceeds $500 and payments to any one vendor used for the expenses total over $200 for the calendar year, additional information is required to achieve full disclosure. In this instance the committee must:

  • Report the staff member as payee; and
  • Report the payments aggregating over $200 to any one vendor as memo entries on Schedule B.