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How to report

Quarterly reports for independent expenditure filers

When persons, groups, or organizations (not political committees) make independent expenditures that aggregate more than $250 during a calendar year with respect to a given election, they file a quarterly report using the Form 5.

They must continue to file quarterly reports for any succeeding reporting period during the same year in which additional independent expenditures of any amount are made.

The reports must be filed no later than the filing date for the applicable quarterly report:

  • April Quarterly Report (covering January 1 through March 31) – due April 15
  • July Quarterly Report (covering April 1 through June 30) – due July 15
  • October Quarterly Report (covering July 1 through September 30) – due October 15
  • Year-End Report (covering October 1 through December 31) – due January 31

Filers whose independent expenditures exceed, or are expected to exceed, $50,000 in any calendar year, must electronically file Form 5.

In addition to quarterly reports, independent expenditures by persons, groups of persons or organizations are subject to 24- and 48-hour reporting requirements.

Learn more about filing 24-hour reports and 48-hour reports.

Form 5 – Cover page

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Palm Trees, Inc. files a Year-End Report to disclose their independent expenditures.On Line 4, it checks that this is a January 31 Year-End Report and includes the quarterly report’s coverage dates on Line 5.On Lines 6 and 7, the filer includes summary totals for its contributions and independent expenditures.The filer signs and dates the bottom of the form.

Disclosing contributions

Each contributor who makes a contribution during the reporting period aggregating in excess of $200 during the calendar year must be itemized on Schedule 5-A, including their identification information, contribution date and amount.

For contributions given for the purpose of furthering any independent expenditure, include a memo text stating that the contribution was given for the purpose of furthering independent expenditures.

Schedule 5-A: Itemized receipts

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Palm Trees, Inc. discloses receiving contributions from Molly Jensen and Sally Chapman, including their information, employer and occupation, contribution date and amount.

Since Molly gave her contribution for the purpose of furthering independent expenditures, the filer included memo text stating "Made to further independent expenditures."

Disclosing independent expenditures

To itemize independent expenditures, the filer discloses the:

  • Payee
  • Date the independent expenditure was made
  • Amount
  • Purpose
  • Candidate supported or opposed, including the candidate’s name, office sought, and election for which the disbursement was made
  • Total amount expended in the aggregate during the calendar year per election, per office sought

Date made

The date that a communication is publicly distributed or otherwise publicly disseminated serves as the date that the independent expenditure is “made,” and the date a filer must use to determine whether the total amount of independent expenditures has, in the aggregate, reached or exceeded the reporting threshold.

Aggregating IEs

Independent expenditures are aggregated toward the various reporting thresholds on a per-election basis, within the calendar year, per office sought (race).

The calculation of the aggregate amount of the independent expenditures must include both disbursements for independent expenditures and all contracts obligating funds for disbursements of independent expenditures.

Schedule 5-E: Itemized independent expenditures

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On the Form 5 quarterly report, Palm Trees, Inc. discloses the independent expenditures that were made during the quarter, including IEs that were already disclosed on 24 and 48-hour reports.

Reporting with FECFile

To enter contributions, go to the Summary tab and right click on “Line 6 Contributions.”

To enter memo text stating that the filer did not receive contributions to further IEs, go to the Reports tab, right click on the report and select “Memo Text...”

To enter independent expenditures, go to the Summary tab and right click on “Line 7 Independent expenditures.”

Learn more about filing independent expenditures in FECFile