This article describes the filing requirements for 2020. Additional information is available on the FEC's Dates and deadlines web page.
Year-End reports covering 2019 activity
All committees must file a 2019 Year-End report due January 31, 2020, that covers activity through December 31, 2019. To help committees prepare these reports, the Commission will host reporting and FECFile webinars for PACs and party committees on January 15 and for candidate committees on January 22.
Reports covering 2020 activity
To find out which reports your committee must file in 2020, visit the Filing frequency by type of filer web page and click the links to access the appropriate reporting tables. Please note that committees active in special elections in 2020 may have to file additional special election reports.
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 Form 1, electronic filers must submit Form 1 filled out in its entirety. Paper filers should include only the committee’s name, address, FEC identification number, the updated or changed portions of the form, the name and signature of the treasurer and the date signed. Committees may also use our online webform to update their information.
The Commission provides reminders of upcoming filing dates as a courtesy to help committees comply with the filing deadlines 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.
The Commission’s electronic filing software, FECFile, is free and can be downloaded from the website. All reports 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, 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. 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 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.
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.
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. (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.)
Address for paper filers:
Postal deliveries to the FEC:
Federal Election Commission
1050 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20463
Reports shipped via delivery services (for example, FedEx, UPS or DHL):
Same as postal deliveries but use the ZIP code 20002.
24- and 48-hour reports and notices
Special rules apply to the non-electronic filing of 24- and 48-Hour Reports and Notices as provided in 11 CFR 100.19(d)-(f).
Authorized committees of candidates
House and Senate candidates
Each authorized committee of an individual running for the House or Senate must file quarterly reports if the individual meets the definition of candidate under the Act and Commission regulations. 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.
The authorized committees of House and Senate candidates must also file pre-primary election and pre-general election reports before any election in which the candidate participates. These committees also must file a post-general election report if the candidate participates in the general election.
Principal campaign committees of candidates who ran in past elections or are running in future elections must also file quarterly reports in 2020. A committee that wishes to stop filing reports with the FEC must file a termination report. Committees must continue to file reports until the Commission notifies them in writing that their termination report has been accepted.
Principal campaign committees of House and Senate candidates running in any 2020 election must a 48-Hour Notice (Form 6) anytime they receive a contribution of $1,000 or more per source (including loans) after the 20th day, but more than 48 hours, before an election.
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 must file monthly reports in 2020. Only committees that have neither met nor anticipate meeting either of those thresholds may file quarterly. Note that quarterly filers must also file a pre-election report for each election in which the candidate seeks nomination or election.
Presidential committees able to change their reporting schedule and that wish to do so are required to notify the Commission in writing. Electronic filers must file this request electronically. After filing this notice of change in filing frequency with the Commission, all future reports must follow the new filing schedule. Please note that, as explained, presidential committees that have received contributions or made expenditures of $100,000 or more during the current presidential election cycle or expect to do so must file monthly reports in 2020. The committee will receive a letter from the Commission approving the filing frequency change.
National party committees
National committees of political parties must file on a monthly schedule in 2020.
Political action committees
Political action 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. PACs that filed on a monthly schedule in 2019 continue to file on a monthly schedule in 2020.
Pre- and post-election reports
Please note that in 2020, party committees and PACs that file monthly reports must file a pre-general election report and a post-general election report in lieu of the reports otherwise due in November and December. Similarly, party committees and PACs that file quarterly reports in 2020 must also file:
- A pre-primary election report and a pre-general election report before any election in which the committee makes a contribution to or an expenditure on behalf of a candidate in that election, if not previously disclosed; and
- A post-general election report.
Changing filing frequency
PACs and party committees that are not required to file monthly may change their filing schedule once a year, but must first notify the Commission in writing (or electronically, if electronic filers).
Political committees and other persons who make independent expenditures may have to disclose this activity within 24 or 48 hours depending on the date and amount of the expenditure. Note that aggregations of independent expenditures must be calculated as of the first date on which a communication that constitutes an independent expenditure is publicly disseminated, and as of the date that any such communication with respect to the same election is subsequently publicly disseminated.
Political committees must use Form 3X, Schedule E, to file 24- and 48-Hour Reports.
Persons and other entities that are not political committees must use Form 5.
Political committees must report all independent expenditures, regardless of whether they trigger the 24- or 48-hour reporting thresholds, on their next regularly scheduled campaign finance reports. These independent expenditure reports are not required when a party committee or PAC makes a contribution directly to a candidate.
Persons and other entities that are not political committees must disclose independent expenditures in a quarterly report filed on Form 5 once the expenditures exceed $250 in a calendar year in connection with a given election. Form 5 filers are not required to file quarterly reports for periods in which they have not made any independent expenditures. However, they must file quarterly reports for periods in which they made independent expenditures of any amount after they have made independent expenditures aggregating over $250 in a calendar year for a given election, regardless of whether or not they have already reported that activity in a 48- or 24-Hour Report.
Committees active in special elections
Committees authorized by candidates running in any 2020 special election must file pre- and post-election reports in addition to regularly scheduled reports. Principal campaign committees of candidates running in any 2020 special election also must file 48-Hour Notices for any contributions of $1,000 or more per source (including loans) received after the 20th day, but more than 48 hours, before an election.
PACs and party committees supporting candidates running in special elections may also have to file pre- and post-election reports unless they file on a monthly basis. All PACs, as well as individuals, corporations, labor organizations and all other persons, are subject to 48- and 24-hour reporting of independent expenditures made before an election.
Additionally, individuals and other persons who make disbursements for "electioneering communications" that aggregate in excess of $10,000 must file disclosure statements with the Commission by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the day after such communications are distributed to the public.
Disclosure of lobbyist bundling activity
Campaign committees, party committees and leadership PACs that are otherwise required to file reports in connection with an election (including special elections) must simultaneously file Form 3L if they receive two or more bundled contributions from any lobbyist/registrant or lobbyist/registrant PAC that aggregate in excess of the lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold during the election reporting period.
The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold for calendar year 2019 was $18,700. This threshold amount may increase in 2020 based upon the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA). As soon as the adjusted threshold amount is available, the Commission will publish it in the Federal Register and post it on FEC.gov.
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 page to access the reporting tables online.
11 CFR 100.3(a)
Definition of candidate
11 CFR 100.19
Timely filed reports; electronically filed reports
11 CFR 100.29(a)
Definition of electioneering communication
11 CFR 104.4(b)(2) and (c), 104.5(g) and 109.10(c) and (d)
Reports of independent expenditures made at any time up to and including the 20th day before an election and those made less than 20 days, but more than 24 hours before the day of an election
11 CFR 104.5(a)-(f), (h) and (i)
Filing dates for candidates; filing dates for committees that are not authorized committees of candidates; date of filing; 48-hour notice of contributions; special election reports; retaining proof of mailing
11 CFR 110.17(e)(2) and (f)
Lobbyist/registrant and lobbyist/registrant PAC contribution bundling disclosure threshold