Unless excepted, political organizations described in section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code are required to file some or all of four forms:
- An initial notice of status on Form 8871, Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status;
- Periodic reports of contributions and expenditures on Form 8872, Report of Contributions and Expenditures;
- Annual income tax returns on Form 1120-POL, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Political Organizations (PDF); and
- Annual information returns on Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (PDF), or Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (PDF).
The purpose of this page is to set forth (in question and answer format) issues arising from the filing of the annual returns by political organizations. The following questions do not address the filing of these returns by other exempt organizations.
Questions about Form 1120-POL
- What is Form 1120-POL?
- Who has to file Form 1120-POL?
- When is Form 1120-POL due?
- May a political organization request an extension of time for filing Form 1120-POL?
- Does a political organization report the contributions it receives on Form 1120-POL?
- May a political organization deduct the salaries, rents and other expenses it incurs for its political campaign activity on Form 1120-POL?
- What does a political organization that is not exempt because it did not file Form 8871 report on Form 1120-POL?
- What if the political organization fails to file Form 1120-POL?
- What if a political organization fails to pay the tax shown on Form 1120-POL?
- Are Forms 1120-POL filed by political organizations publicly available?
Questions about Forms 990 and 990-EZ
- What is Form 990?
- What is Form 990-EZ?
- Which political organizations have to file Form 990?
- Does a tax-exempt political organization whose annual gross receipts are normally $25,000 or more have to file a Form 990 for any year in which its annual gross receipts are less than $25,000?
- When is Form 990 due?
- May a political organization request an extension of the due date for filing Form 990?
- How should a political organization describe its exempt purpose in Part III of Form 990?
- How should a political organization describe its program service accomplishments in Part III of Form 990?
- What does a political organization report in Part VII of Form 990?
- Does a political organization have to report the compensation of one of its officers, directors, trustees or key employees that is paid by a related organization?
- What is a related organization for purposes of reporting compensation paid by related organizations on Form 990?
- Does a political organization need to complete Schedule A of Form 990?
- Does a political organization complete Schedule B of Form 990?
- What if the political organization fails to file Form 990?
- Are Forms 990 filed by tax-exempt political organizations publicly available?
- What if the tax-exempt political organization does not make its Forms 990 publicly available?
- Reporting financial information on Parts VIII and IX
Learn more about completing a Form 900-series return by attending the online Form 990 Overview Course.