How Do I File a CA Form 497?

Applies To: California

The CA Form 497 has two main uses:

  • Primarily, a 24-hour Contribution Report, which is required for contributions received or non-independent expenditure made in the amount or aggregate of $1,000 or more, filed within the 90-day period before an election
  • A 10-day report, required for contributions received or non-independent expenditures made in the amount or aggregate of $5,000 or more, filed anytime outside of the 90-day period before an election

When generating a 497 in ISPolitical, navigate to Compliance under the Reporting tab. On the criteria screen you will see the following fields.

Filer: Ensure the correct filer is selected if you have more than one Filer. If you only have one Filer (most common), then you won’t see this option.

Compliance Report: Select the CA Form 497 from the listed report types.

Compliance Report Version: Along with the Standard version, choose from various versions of the 497 report.

Local Jurisdiction: This limits the report to Support/Oppose memo entities to the local jurisdiction. This is used by committees who receive/make contributions in multiple jurisdictions, and need to restrict a report to a specific jurisdiction for filing purposes. This dropdown is commonly left blank.

Current Election: Select the current election the committee is participating in.

From Date: The From Date should always be the first day of the 90-day reporting period.

To Date: The To Date is the day you are running this report on.

After you’ve completed the fields, click the Generate button to generate your report. When it completes the process, review your report and, when ready, click “E-File Report to State” to send it electronically to the state, or, if available “E-File Report to Local Agency”. After you receive the confirmation the report was accepted, click on the Mark As Filed button.

Clicking the Mark As Filed button will mark all transactions in the report as previously reported. This prevents transactions from being double reported later and provides an extra layer of protection from editing or accidental deletion.

How do I report In-Kind Contributions on the 497?

From a reporting perspective, in-kinds contributions are considered typical contributions. On the 497 report, the aggregate resets during the 90-day period.

Per the FPPC:

“A committee must file a Form 497 for each aggregated contribution of $1,000 or more from the same source. For example, if a committee reported a contribution of $2,000 on the Form 497 and later the same source made a $500 contribution, the Form 497 is not required as long as the contributor did not make future contributions that aggregated to $1,000 or more during the 90-day election cycle.“

While the above clause talks about Contributions Received, the concept is the same for Contributions Made.

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