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Getting Started

Interested in running for city office? Candidate Services is here to help. Candidate Services Liaisons are trained to assist campaigns with the getting started process, and can help answer any questions you may have.

Before you register with the CFB

Prior to raising or spending money, you must complete these three steps.

  1. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

    EIN numbers are assigned to corporations, partnerships, political committees, and other entities for tax filing and reporting purposes. It is mandatory for registering a committee and opening a bank account. You may apply for and obtain an EIN directly from the Internal Revenue Service website or by calling (800) 829-1040 for assistance.

  2. Authorize a Committee with both the New York City and New York State Boards of Elections.

    Three forms must be submitted with original signatures to both the City and State Boards of Elections.

    1. Committee Registration/Treasurer and Bank Information (CF-02)
    2. Committee Authorization Status (CF-03)
    3. Candidate’s Authorization for a Committee to Make All Campaign Financial Disclosures (CF-16)
  3. Open a bank account in your committee’s name.

    Bring a copy of the forms you submitted to the Boards of Elections to the bank when you open your committee account.

    1. Ask the bank if it provides images of both the front and back of cancelled committee checks. This is a CFB requirement. If your bank offers online banking, make sure you have access to the scanned images of both sides of all checks.
    2. Obtain a committee debit card. Using a debit card is the most convenient way to track all purchases.

If you have previously run for an elected office covered by the Campaign Finance Program (mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, or City Council member), you must authorize a new committee for each election cycle. You must also obtain a new EIN and open a new bank account for each election cycle. Program participants may only ope one authorized committee per election cycle.

Registering with the CFB

Once you have completed the steps above, you can register your committee with the CFB.

  1. Submit a Filer Registration (FR)

    You must submit an FR to register your committee with the CFB. The form must be legible, contain original signatures and initials from the candidate and treasurer, and be notarized. Photocopies will not be accepted.

    Once your FR has been processed, login credentials for C-Access and C-SMART will be sent to the email address registered with the CFB. C-Access is the CFB’s interactive website that provides a secure way to view campaign information. Through C-SMART, campaigns file disclosure statements and maintain contributors’ information.

    Download the Filer Registration form

  2. Attend a CFB Training

    The candidate, treasurer, or an individual with significant managerial control must attend both a Compliance and a C-SMART training. Compliance trainings cover campaign finance law and CFB rules. C-SMART trainings provide an overview of the CFB’s web-based application, which campaigns must use to manage and disclose financial activity.

    The CFB also offers a New to the CFB seminar that is geared towards first-time candidates, treasurers, and campaign staff. This seminar is optional and will cover an overview of some expectations and demands of running for a CFB-covered office. Recommendation: Attend this seminar prior to the Compliance and C-SMART trainings.

    View the training calendar/schedule a training

  3. Contact your Candidate Services Unit (CSU) Liaison

    You will be assigned a liaison to assist your campaign throughout the election cycle once your committee is registered with the CFB. Your liaison is trained to answer questions about compliance and C-SMART and will be one of your campaign’s most valuable resources. Your liaison will also remind you of important deadlines and filing requirements.

  4. Join the Campaign Finance Program (optional).

    To participate in the Program, also known as the Matching Funds Program, candidates must submit a Certification by June 12th in the election year.

    Find out more about certifying into the Program.

Request Getting Started Information

Still have more questions? Complete and submit this form and the CFB will send you information on running for local office.