This article describes the filing requirements for 2021. Additional information is available on the FEC's Dates and deadlines web page.
Year-End reports covering 2020 activity
Committees must file a 2020 Year-End report due January 31, 2021, that covers activity through December 31, 2020. To help committees prepare their reports, the Commission will host reporting and FECFile webinars for candidates on January 13 and PACs and party committees on January 14.
Reports covering 2021 activity
To find out which reports your committee must file in 2021, check the Filing frequency by type of filer webpage and click the links to access the appropriate reporting tables. Please note that committees active in special elections in 2021 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 and the updated or changed portions of the form. All committees may also use our online webform to update their information, but those that do so must continue to file electronically for the balance of the year.
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 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 must be filed in version 126.96.36.199 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
Despite the resumption of limited mail operations at the FEC, the processing of campaign finance reports filed on paper may be delayed. As a result, paper filers may receive non-filer notices during this time. Nevertheless, filers should continue to file their reports on time.
Registered and certified mail
Reports sent by registered or certified mail are considered to be filed on the date of their postmark. Accordingly, 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. 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 will be considered filed when actually received by Commission staff, subject to delays resulting from the agency’s limited mail processing. The Commission is not accepting courier deliveries at this time. 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.
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.
Candidates with more than one authorized committee
If a candidate has more than one authorized committee, the principal campaign committee files, with its own report (FEC Form 3 or 3P), a consolidated report of receipts and disbursements (FEC Form 3Z) showing its own activity as well as the activity of all other authorized committees of the candidate.
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. Committees that do not engage in reportable “Federal Election Activity” may file on a semi-annual basis in 2021.
National party committees
National committees of political parties must file on a monthly schedule in 2021.
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 quarterly basis during 2020 file on a semi-annual basis in 2021. PACs that filed on a monthly schedule in 2020 must continue to file on a monthly schedule in 2021.
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 2021 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 to view the reporting tables online.
11 CFR 100.3(a)
Definition of candidate
11 CFR 100.5(d) and (f)(1)
11 CFR 100.19
Timely filed reports; electronically filed reports
11 CFR 104.3(f)
Contents of reports
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