Campaign Fund and Political Contribution Refund

November 7, 2017 by Aaron Bloom
Copeland Buhl

Did you know you can become civically engaged just by filing your taxes? Did you know your recent political contribution may qualify for a state refund or tax credit? This article will discuss the various federal and state programs designed to increase civic engagement in the political process.

Presidential Election Campaign

The Presidential Election Campaign Checkoff

When you filed your last 1040 did you notice the box underneath your Social Security Number labeled “Presidential Election Campaign”? If you did, did you check it? If not, you’re not alone. According to the Federal Election Commission only 6% of 2013 returns that were filed checked the box. (NPR – Checkoff) Voluntary participation in the program has been on a precipitous decline since its inception.

The checkbox started appearing on tax returns in 1973 (Form 1040 – 1973) as an alternative way to fund Presidential elections. Presidential candidates, if they chose to, can accept the funds to help finance their campaign through the primary and general election. If a candidate accepts the funds they are required to keep specific records, limit spending to amounts specified by campaign finance law, cooperate with an audit of their campaign expenditures, etc. (FEC Information – Campaign Funding)

When the box is checked $3 (or $6 if your spouse checks it too) is allocated to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. Checking the box does not increase your tax or reduce your refund.


Minnesota Political Contribution Refund

The Minnesota Political Contribution Refund is back!

Qualified political contributions are eligible for a $50 (single) or $100 (married filing jointly) refund from Minnesota. To qualify contributions must:

  • Be made between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017
  • Be made to a qualified candidate for:
    • Minnesota Legislature
    • Minnesota Governor, Lieutenant Governor, or Attorney General
    • Minnesota Secretary of State
    • Minnesota State Auditor
    • Minnesota Political Party

Contributions may be made to mulitiple candidates and or parties, but ONLY one refund is allowed per calendar year. The deadline to file for this refund is April 16, 2018.

MN DOR – Political Contribution Refund and Forms


State Political Party Contributions

If you are not a resident of Minnesota, the following states currently offer tax credits for qualified political contributions:

Please feel free to contact me at 952-476-7152 or if you have any questions.