(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took one more step toward launching a presidential bid on Friday by filing a "Political Organization" notice with the Internal Revenue Service.
The move makes it possible for the potential 2012 presidential candidate to accept donations via his exploratory web site, newtexplore2012.com , which he launched Thursday.
In his IRS disclosure, Gingrich states that his organization "Newt Exploratory 2012" was formed for the "purpose of discerning the feasibility of a potential candidacy for federal office." The formal title of the IRS form is Political Organization Notice of Section 527 Status.
Earlier this week Gingrich's political team was careful to say that they were merely entering an "exploratory phase," but this new group allows them to raise money for a potential presidential run without requiring them to register as a candidate with the FEC. If Gingrich decides to officially enter the 2012 presidential race, his campaign can transfer funds from this new 527 group into a formal campaign committee, as long as all donations comply with federal campaign regulations.
The former congressman, businessman, and author has a web of businesses and organizations under his umbrella that complicate the FEC filing process.
Gingrich's announcement on Thursday focused on his plans to evaluate the viability of forming an exploratory committee in the presidential race, as he states on his web site: " We are excited about exploring whether there is sufficient support for my potential candidacy for President of this exceptional country."
- CNN Producer Adam Aigner-Treworgy contributed to this report