California Fair Political Practices Commission Regulations

Most PTAs are unlikely to have expenditures high enough to require reporting under California law, but it is wise to carefully account for all PTA expenditures made for any legislative purpose. Contact the district PTA president or the State office if there are questions about how California reporting laws might affect the PTA.

California law establishes procedures and requirements for filing reports on election campaign expenses. A PTA that participates in a campaign to pass or defeat any local school bond, parcel tax or local or statewide ballot measure must file a report with the State of California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

1.  Contributions* up to a total of $1,000: No special reporting is necessary, other than on your regular tax forms.
2.  Contributions*:

a.  Single donation: Can be made in one payment in a calendar year once in five years without special reporting to the FPPC. Note: This is considered the “first bite of the apple.” Keep a record that the five-year timeline has been triggered.
b.  Two or more donations:  The second contribution within a calendar year that would total more than $1,000 triggers the “second bite of the apple.” The association needs to file as a “recipient committee” with the FPPC and report the donation within 10 days of the contribution.  This is not very complicated, but contact the California State PTA if you are considering this.

3.  Contributions* of $10,000 more: The association must file a “major donor” report to the FPPC, an easy form.
4.  Contributions* of $50,000 more: The association becomes a sponsor of the ballot measure and must be named on all campaign literature

* Contributions refer to both monetary and in-kind contributions made in a calendar year on any combination of ballot measures.

Note:  Keep in mind that 501(c)(3) associations are entitled by law to lobby on ballot measures (not candidates). The reporting forms are relatively simple.

New Campaign Reporting Rules for PTAs — effective July 1, 2014

For more information on reporting requirements, go to www.fppc.ca.gov.

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