General Instructions

Purpose of Form

Unless an exception applies (see Who Must File below), a tax-exempt section 527 political organization must file Form 8872 to report certain contributions received and expenditures made. Generally, an organization that is required to file Form 8872 also must file Form 8871, Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status, within 24 hours of the organization's formation or within 30 days of any material change to the information reported on Form 8871.

Note.

The organization is not required to report contributions accepted or expenditures made after July 1, 2000, if they were received or made under a contract entered into before July 2, 2000.

Who Must File

Every section 527 political organization that accepts a contribution or makes an expenditure for an exempt function during the calendar year must file Form 8872, except:

  • A political organization that is not required to file Form 8871,

  • A political organization that is subject to tax on its income because it did not file or amend a Form 8871, or

  • A qualified state or local political organization.

A qualified state or local political organization is a political organization that meets the following requirements:

  • The organization's exempt functions are solely for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any state or local political office or office in a state or local political organization.

  • The organization is subject to state law that requires it to report information that is similar to that required on Form 8872.

  • The organization files the required reports with the state.

  • The state makes such reports public and the organization makes them open to public inspection in the same manner that organizations must make Form 8872 available for public inspection.

For additional information, including the prohibition of involvement in the organization of a federal candidate or office holder, see section 527(e)(5).

When To File

Due dates for Form 8872 vary depending on whether the form is due for a reporting period that occurs during an even-numbered or odd-numbered year.

Note.

If any due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the organization may file on the next business day.

Even-Numbered Years

The organization may opt to file its reports on either a quarterly or monthly basis, but it must file on the same basis for the entire calendar year.

Quarterly reports.    File the first report for the first quarter of the calendar year in which the organization accepts a contribution or makes an expenditure. Quarterly reports are due by the 15th day after the last day of each calendar quarter, except the year-end report which is due by January 31 of the following year. In addition, the organization may have to file a pre-election report, a post-general election report, or both, as explained below.

Monthly reports.   File the first report for the first month of the calendar year in which the organization accepts a contribution or makes an expenditure. Reports are due by the 20th day after the end of the month. This report must reflect all reportable contributions accepted and expenditures made during the month for which the report is being filed. No monthly reports are due for October and November. Instead, the organization must file a pre-general election report and a post-general election report (see Pre-election report and Post-general election report). In addition, a year-end report must also be filed by January 31 of the following year instead of a monthly report for December.

Pre-election report.   This report must be filed before any election for which the organization made a contribution or expenditure. This report must be filed by the:
  • 12th day before the election, or

  • 15th day before the election, if the organization is posting the report by certified or registered mail.

  This report must reflect all reportable contributions accepted and expenditures made through the 20th day before the election.

Post-general election report.   File by the 30th day after the general election. This report must reflect all reportable contributions accepted and expenditures made through the 20th day after the general election.

  Election means:
  • A general, special, primary, or runoff election for a federal office,

  • A convention or caucus of a political party which has authority to nominate a candidate for federal office,

  • A primary election held for the selection of delegates to a national nominating convention of a political party, or

  • A primary election held for the expression of a preference for the nomination of individuals for election to the office of President.

  General election means:
  • An election for a federal office held in even numbered years on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, or

  • An election held to fill a vacancy in a federal office (that is, a special election) that is intended to result in the final selection of a single individual to the office at stake in a general election.

Odd-Numbered Years

The organization may opt to file its reports on either a semiannual or monthly basis, but it must file on the same basis for the entire calendar year.

Semiannual reports.   File the mid-year report by July 31 for the period beginning January 1 through June 30. File the year-end report by January 31 of the following year for the period beginning July 1 and ending December 31.

Monthly reports.   File the first report for the first month of the calendar year in which the organization accepts a contribution or makes an expenditure. Reports are due by the 20th day after the end of the month, except for the December report, which is due on January 31 of the following year. This report must reflect all reportable contributions accepted and expenditures made during the month for which the report is being filed.

Where and How To File

Form 8872 may be filed either electronically or by mail. Organizations that have, or expect to have, contributions or expenditures exceeding $50,000 are required to file electronically.

To file by mail, send Form 8872 to the:

Internal Revenue Service Center 
Ogden, UT 84201

File electronically using the IRS Internet website at www.irs.gov/polorgs. A username and a password are required for electronically filing Form 8872. Organizations that have completed the electronic filing of Form 8871 and submitted a completed, signed Form 8453-X, Political Organization Declaration for Electronic Filing of Notice of Section 527 Status, will receive a username and a password in the mail. Organizations that have completed the electronic filing of Form 8871, but have not received their username and password may request them by writing to the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Attn: Request for 8872 
Password Mail Stop 6273 
Ogden, UT 84201

If you have forgotten or misplaced the username and password issued to your organization after you filed your initial Form 8871 and Form 8453-X, please send a letter requesting a new username and password to the above address. You may also fax your request to 801-620-3249. It may take 3-6 weeks for your new username and password to arrive, as they will be mailed to the organization. Submit your request now in order to have your username and password available for your next filing.

Who Must Sign

Form 8872 must be signed by an official authorized by the organization to sign this report.

Penalty

A penalty will be imposed if the organization is required to file Form 8872 and it:

  • Fails to file the form by the due date, or

  • Files the form but fails to report all of the information required or it reports incorrect information.

The penalty is 35% of the total amount of contributions and expenditures to which a failure relates.

Other Required Reports and Returns

An organization that files Form 8872 may also be required to file the following forms.

  • 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 return).

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

Public Inspection of Form 8872

The IRS will make Form 8872 (including Schedules A and B) open to public inspection on the IRS website at www.irs.gov/polorgs. In addition, the organization must make available for public inspection a copy of this report during regular business hours at the organization's principal office and at each of its regional or district offices having at least 3 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. The maximum penalty imposed on all persons for failures relating to one report is $10,000.

Telephone Assistance

If you have questions or need help completing Form 8872, please call 1-877-829-5500. This toll-free telephone service is available Monday through Friday.

Exempt Organizations Update

The IRS has established a new, subscription-based email service for tax professionals and representatives of tax-exempt organizations. Subscribers will receive periodic updates from the IRS regarding exempt organizations tax law and regulations, available services, and other information. To subscribe, visit www.irs.gov/eo.


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