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Minnesota's Political Contribution Refund Program

Minnesota's Political Contribution Refund Program has been around since 1990, yet it remains largely unknown. This FAQ attempts to answer common questions about this refund program.

What is the Political Contribution Refund (PCR) Program?

The program itself is for real: Minnesotans can give up to $50 per person/$100 per married couple to a political party or candidate for state office and get a full refund from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Which candidates are eligible for the PCR program?

  • Candidates for state offices who agree to abide by state spending limits qualify. Examples include Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer, State Representative, and State Senator candidates.
  • Political Parties themselves, such as the Republican Party of Minnesota or the Senate District 48 Republicans, also are eligible for the PCR program.
  • The following donations DO NOT QUALIFY: US Congress, US Senator, US President, local city council, county commissioner, school board, other Federal or Local office candidates, and state candidates who do not abide by spending limits.

How does it work?

The party or candidate sends you a receipt for the amount of your contribution. You fill out a PCR form, mail that form and your receipt to the Department of Revenue along with and they write you a check for your contribution amount up to $50 per individual or $100 per married couple.

Click here for a PCR form

You may file only once per year, and you do not have to file at the same time you file your state income taxes. You must file, however, by April 15th of the year following your contribution.

What's the point?

There are at least three reasons for the program:
  • By restricting the program to candidates who agree to abide by spending limits, the Legislature has added some teeth to those spending limit laws.
  • The program purports to make candidates less dependent on large dollar contributions.
  • More people contribute, and hence participate in the political process, if their financial obligation is zero.

I don't believe you. How can I verify this?

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