The following reports are due in April:
- All authorized committees of House and Senate candidates must file a quarterly report by April 15, 2018. The report covers financial activity from January 1 (or the day after the closing date of the last report) through March 31;
- Authorized committees of presidential candidates must file a report by April 15, if they are quarterly filers (the report covers financial activity from January 1 through March 31), or by April 20, if they are monthly filers (the report covers
activity for the month of March);
- National party committees and other political committees following a monthly filing schedule must file a monthly report by April 20. This includes state, district and local party committees that engage in reportable “federal election activity”
(see the “State, district and local party committees” section below). The report covers activity for the month of March.
- PACs and party committees following a quarterly reporting schedule must file a quarterly report by April 15, covering activity from January 1 (or the day after the closing date of the last report) through March 31.
Since the April 15 deadline falls on a weekend in 2018, quarterly filers using methods other than electronic filing or registered, certified or overnight mail must ensure that their reports are received by the Commission (or the Secretary of the Senate) before the close of business on the last business day before the deadline (i.e., Friday, April 13).
Quarterly filers that participate in primary elections or special elections may need to file pre- and post-election reports that are not accounted for above. Remember, reporting periods always begin the day after the closing date of the last report filed. Additionally, campaign committees must file 48-hour notices of contributions of $1,000 or more received less than 20 days but more than 48 hours before any election in which the candidate participates.
Reporting help is always just a phone call away at 800-424-9530. Select option 4 for technical assistance with electronic filing, option 5 for reporting and filing questions, or option 6 for general information.
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 (FEC 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 (the 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.
Senate campaigns and other committees supporting Senate candidates must file their FEC reports with the Secretary of the Senate on paper, but may file an additional unofficial electronic copy of their report with the Commission in order to enhance disclosure. For assistance with filing an unofficial copy of the report electronically, call 800-424-9530 and select option 4.
The Commission’s electronic filing software, FECFile, is free and can be downloaded at https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/filing-reports/fecfile-software/. All reports filed after June 7, 2017, must be filed in version 8.2 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, which are available on the Commission’s website. Committees using commercial software should contact their vendors to ensure their software meets the latest specifications.
Timely filing for paper filers
Registered and certified mail
Reports sent by registered or certified mail are considered to be filed on the date of their postmark. 52 U.S.C. § 30104(a)(5) and 11 CFR 104.5(e). Accordingly, quarterly reports sent by registered or certified mail must be postmarked on or before the filing deadline to be considered timely filed. 11 CFR 100.19(b). A committee sending its reports by registered or 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. 11 CFR 104.5(i).
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. See 11 CFR 100.19(b)(1) and (b)(3)(i). 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. See 11 CFR 104.5(e) and (i).
Other means of filing
Reports sent by other means — including first class mail and courier — must be received by the FEC (or the Secretary of the Senate) before close of business on the filing deadline. See 11 CFR 100.19(b) and 104.5(e). (If the deadline falls on a weekend or federal holiday, such filers should plan accordingly and file reports by the close of business on the last business day before the filing deadline.) Forms may be downloaded at https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/forms/.
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 presidential committees must file on either a monthly or a quarterly schedule. Presidential committees able to change their reporting schedule and that wish to do so are required to notify the Commission in writing.
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 2018. Committees that do not engage in reportable “federal election activity” may file on a quarterly schedule in 2018.
National party committees
National committees of political parties must file on a monthly schedule in 2018.
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 schedule in 2017 must file on a quarterly schedule in 2018. PACs that filed on a monthly schedule in 2017 must continue to file on a monthly schedule in 2018.
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 2018 reporting dates:
- Call and request the reporting tables from the FEC at 800/424-9530 or 202/694-1100; or
- Visit the FEC’s web page at https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/dates-and-deadlines/ to view the reporting tables online.