This article on filing requirements for 2017 is supplemented by the reporting tables linked at https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/dates-and-deadlines/.
Year-end reports covering 2016 activity
All committees must file a 2016 Year-End Report due January 31, 2017, that covers activity through December 31, 2016. To help committees prepare their reports, the Commission will host reporting and FECFile webinars for PACs and party committees on January 18 and for candidates on January 25.
Reports covering 2017 activity
To find out which reports your committee must file in 2017, check the Filing Frequency by Type of Filer section of our 2017 Reporting Dates web page. Then check the links to tables for various categories of reporting dates. Please note that committees active in special elections in 2017 may have to file additional special election reports. All FEC reporting dates are also available on the Commission’s website.
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 electronic mail, 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 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. 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 that have reason to expect to do so — must file all reports and statements electronically. [FN1]
Reports filed electronically must be received and validated by the Commission by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the filing date. 11 CFR 100.19(c). 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. 11 CFR 104.18(a)(2) and (e).
Senate campaigns and other committees that file with the Secretary of the Senate must file their FEC reports on paper, but may file an additional unofficial electronic copy of their report with the Commission in order to enhance disclosure.
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 October 11, 2016, must be filed in Format Version 126.96.36.199. Reports filed in previous formats 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)(1). 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 [FN2] will be considered timely filed if the report is postmarked on or before the 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 52 U.S.C. § 30104(a)(5) and 11 CFR 100.19(b)(1) and 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)(2) 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 in 2017. 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. See 11 CFR 100.3(a)(1). See also 11 CFR 100.3(a)(2) and (3).
Principal campaign committees of candidates who ran in past elections or are running in future elections must also file quarterly reports in 2017. A committee that wishes to stop filing reports with the FEC must file a termination report with the Commission or the Secretary of the Senate Public Records Office, as appropriate. See 11 CFR 102.3. Committees must continue filing reports until the Commission notifies them in writing that their termination report has been accepted.
All presidential committees must file on either a monthly or a quarterly schedule in 2017. 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 and receiving an approval notice from the Commission, all future reports must follow the new filing schedule. 11 CFR 104.5(b)(2). The committee will receive a letter from the Commission approving the frequency change.
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. See 11 CFR 300.36(b) and (c)(1). Committees that do not engage in reportable "federal election activity" may file on a quarterly basis in 2017. Committees that opt for a quarterly filing schedule would file semi-annual reports during 2017. See 11 CFR 104.5(c)(1)(i).
National party committees
National committees of political parties must file on a monthly schedule. 52 U.S.C. § 30104(a)(4)(B) and 11 CFR 104.5(c)(4).
Political action committees
PACs (separate segregated funds, committees with non-contribution accounts (Hybrid PACs), independent expenditure-only committees (Super PACs) and other nonconnected committees) that filed on a quarterly basis during 2016 file on a semi-annual basis in 2017. Monthly filers continue on the monthly schedule. PACs may change their filing schedule, but must first notify the Commission in writing. Electronic filers must file this request electronically. A committee may change its filing frequency only once per calendar year. 11 CFR 104.5(c). The committee will receive a letter from the Commission approving the frequency change.
For more information on 2017 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.
1The regulation covers individuals and organizations required to file reports of contributions and/or expenditures with the Commission, including any person making an independent expenditure. 11 CFR 104.18(a). Disbursements for "electioneering communications" are not considered "expenditures" and thus do not count toward the $50,000 threshold for mandatory electronic filing. See 11 CFR 104.18(a).
2As used here, "overnight mail" includes Priority 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.