General Instructions

Purpose of Form

Political organizations must use Form 8871 to notify the IRS that the organization is to be treated as a tax-exempt section 527 organization. The IRS is required to make publicly available on the Internet and at its offices a list of the organizations that file Form 8871 (including the organization's mailing address, email address, custodian of records, and contact person as shown on Form 8871).

Political organizations must also use Form 8871 to notify the IRS of any material change in the information reported on a previously filed Form 8871.

Definitions

Political organization

Political organization means a party, committee, association, fund, or other organization (whether or not incorporated) organized and operated primarily for the purpose of directly or indirectly accepting contributions or making expenditures, or both, for an exempt function.

Exempt function

Exempt function means the function of influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any federal, state, or local public office or office in a political organization, or the election of the Presidential or Vice Presidential electors, whether or not such individual or electors are selected, nominated, elected, or appointed. It also includes expenditures made relating to one of these offices, which if incurred by the individual, would be allowable as a business deduction under section 162(a).

Who Must File

Every political organization that is to be treated as a tax-exempt political organization under the rules of section 527 must file Form 8871, except for:

  • An organization that reasonably expects its annual gross receipts to always be less than $25,000,

  • A political committee required to report under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.),

  • A political committee of a state or local candidate,

  • A state or local committee of a political party, or

  • A tax-exempt organization described in section 501(c) that is treated as having political organization taxable income under section 527(f)(1).

When To File

Initial Filing

Form 8871 must be electronically filed within 24 hours of the date on which the organization was established. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the organization may file on the next business day. See Pub. 4216, Political Organization Filing and Disclosure, Filing Process User Guide, for more information.

Note.

An organization that has not filed an initial Form 8871 because it reasonably expected its annual gross receipts to always be less than $25,000 must file an initial Form 8871 within 30 days of reaching $25,000 in annual gross receipts.

To Report a Material Change or Termination

In general, an organization must file an amended Form 8871 within 30 days after the occurrence of the material change being reported. An organization must file a final Form 8871 within 30 days of termination. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the organization may file on the next business day. See Pub. 4216, Political Organization Filing and Disclosure, Filing Process User Guide, for more information.

Where and How To File

Section 527(i)(1)(A) requires that the organization file Form 8871 electronically. The paper version of Form 8871 is obsolete. File Form 8871 online at  
www.irs.gov/polorgs (IRS Keyword: political orgs).

A first-time user electronically submitting an initial Form 8871 will be instructed to print, sign, and mail a Form 8453-X, Political Organization Declaration for Electronic Filing of Notice of Section 527 Status, to the IRS. An authorized official must sign and date Form 8453-X. Send the completed Form 8453-X to:

Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service 
Ogden, UT 84201

Upon receipt of Form 8453-X, the IRS will mail to the organization a username and password that must be used to file an amended or final Form 8871 or to electronically file Form 8872, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures.

Who Must Sign

Form 8871 must be signed by an official authorized by the organization to sign this notice.

Effect of Failure To File Form 8871

An organization that is required to file Form 8871, but fails to do so on a timely basis, will not be treated as a tax-exempt section 527 organization for any period before the date Form 8871 is filed. In addition, the taxable income of the organization for that period (or, where there is a material change and a failure to timely file an amended Form 8871, for the period beginning on the date the change occurred and ending on the date on which the amended Form 8871 is filed) is subject to tax and must be reported on Form 1120-POL. The tax will be computed by including its exempt function income (minus any deductions directly connected with the production of that income).

Other Required Reports and Returns

An organization that files Form 8871 also may be required to file the following forms:

  • Form 8872, Political Organization Report of Contributions and Expenditures (periodic reports are required during the calendar year).

  • Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, or Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (or other designated annual information return).

  • Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations (annual income tax return).

Public Inspection of Form 8871 and Related Materials

Form 8871 (including any supporting papers), and any letter or other document the IRS issues with regard to Form 8871, are open to public inspection at the IRS in Washington, DC, and online at www.irs.gov/polorgs (IRS Keyword: political orgs). In addition, the organization must make available for public inspection a copy of these materials during regular business hours at the organization's principal office and at each of its regional or district offices having at least three paid employees. A penalty of $20 per day will be imposed on any person under a duty to comply with the public inspection requirement for each day a failure to comply continues.

Telephone Assistance

If you have questions or need help completing Form 8871, please call 1-877-829-5500. This toll-free telephone service is available Monday through Friday.


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