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Forms on Federalist sites

Do you want to use a digital form to ask questions of the people visiting your Federalist website? Do you want them to fill out a form with their contact info or feedback? This page provides an overview of existing digital form tools and requirements so you can determine which best apply to your situation and get started.

A note about form services

Federalist pages are static websites. This means that while you can add a form to your site, there is no mechanism to handle the form submission to store and see the results. You’ll need to use a separate form service to use a digital form on your agency’s site. Federalist identified a list of service providers and setup instructions, through research funded by GSA’s 10x program. This list is not shared on this public government site to comply with federal laws, which prohibit federal agencies from giving the appearance of endorsement of particular vendors. Neither Federalist nor GSA promote any particular form service. You should check with your agency’s Office of Chief Information for what services are licensed and approved for your use.

Form requirements

Several requirements may apply to your agency’s digital form, whether posting to Federalist or another site.

The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

What it is: The PRA determines how federal agencies collect information from the public. Adhering to this law doesn’t have to be complicated: this guide to the PRA will help you understand if and how PRA is applicable to your form.

Tip: If you do need to get PRA approval, publish a more basic version of your form that falls under a PRA exemption, and at the same time, submit your full version for review. This will allow you to move forward while you wait for approval, which can take 6 to 9 months.

How to get started: First figure out if PRA applies to your form or if an exemption or generic clearance applies to your situation. Also, get in touch with your agency’s PRA contact.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (508 Compliance)

What it is: 508 compliance requires that government websites be fully accessible to people with disabilities. The 21st Century IDEA Act amplifies this accessibility, and requires a modern user experience.


To get started: Use the USWDS to design your site. Regularly scan your site for accessibility. Contact the 508 Access Board for technical assistance .

Privacy Act

What it is: The Privacy Act controls many aspects of an agency’s collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals. The type of information that falls under the Act is much broader than most people expect, and the agency has wide-ranging responsibilities.

A Note about Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs): When collecting information about individuals through digital forms, Section 208 of the E-Government Act of 2002 may require you to conduct a PIA.


How to get started: It is important that you start by first contacting your agency’s Privacy Office and telling them what you’re trying to accomplish. Ask if you need a new or modified SORN, a Privacy Act Statement on your form, and/or a PIA.

GSA Users GSA uses one PTA form to identify PII before the development or acquisition of a new information system and to re-certify it annually. PTAs are key to determining whether a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) is required, whether a System of Records Notice (SORN) is required, and if any other privacy requirements apply to the information system. If you are developing, acquiring or significantly modifying a system or application, work with your ISSO and privacy analyst to complete a PTA early in your process.

Federal Records Act

What is is: The data collected in your form needs to be stored and destroyed in compliance with the Federal Records Act. You are responsible for identifying what of your data is considered a record, and managing those records in accordance with your agency’s National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)-approved record schedule.

Tip: If your form data is considered a record, remember that the data collected in your form is stored in the forms service, not in Federalist.

To get started: Get in touch with your agency’s Records and Information Management (RIM) office.

Want to learn from other agencies using digital forms?

Join the Web Content Managers Forum.