The FCC fee order (downloads PDF when clicked), Report and Order and Notice of Inquiry (“Order”) adopts a schedule of regulatory fees to assess and collect $381,950,000 in regulatory fees for FY 2022. In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the FCC has adopted several modifications to the waiver, reduction, and deferral process, discussed more below.
Television: For FY 2022, the FCC continues to use the population-based methodology, basing fees on the population covered by a full-power broadcast television station’s contour and a factor of .84 of one cent ($.008430) for full-power broadcast television stations. Appendix G to the Order, beginning at page 85, lists this population data for each licensee and the population based fee (population multiplied by $.008430) for each full-power broadcast television station, including, each satellite station.
Radio Broadcasters: For FY 2022, the Order proposed the same methodology for assessing radio broadcasters as in prior years. Charts showing the regulatory fees by category of radio broadcaster for FY 2021 can be found in Appendix C to the Order at page 75. In addition, Appendix E, at page 78, explains in greater detail the methodology used to determine a station’s contour.
1) Payment Methods and Procedures for FY 2022 Regulatory Fees
- Industry-specific guidance, information regarding payment and requesting payment relief, payment instructions, and other important information can be found at the Commission’s website: http://www.fcc.gov/regfees
- Licensees and regulatees MUST use the new Commission Registration System (“CORES”) to pay their regulatory fees. Fee filer was decommissioned earlier this year. If you have not registered for new CORES, you should do so as soon as possible. Payments in the form of checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks will not be accepted. The regulatory fees are accessed by logging into CORES, selecting “Manage Existing FRNs l FRN Financial l Bills and Fees” from the main menu, and then selecting “Regulatory Fee Manager.”.
- Licensees and regulatees may pay their regulatory fees through the following methods:
- Credit card (online) via Fee Filer
- Wire transfer
- ACH (Automated Clearing House) / debit from bank account (online) via Fee Filer
- Visa or MasterCard debit cards (online) via Fee Filer
- A Form 159-E voucher is required if the regulatee is making a wire transfer payment. All payments made by wire transfer (payable to the Federal Communications Commission) must be supported by faxing the “Wire Transfer Instructions” from Fee Filer to the Federal Communications Commission at (202) 418-2843 at least one hour before initiating the wire transfer, but on the same business day, so as not to delay crediting their account.
- Due to limits on credit card transactions, customers wishing to pay an amount greater than $24, 9999.99 should consider electronic alternatives such as Visa or MasterCard debit cards, Automated Clearing House debits from a bank account, and wire transfers. Each of these options is available after filing regulatory fee information in Fee Filer.
- Payments must be made using CORES. The Commission has not yet released a Public Notice announcing that regulatory fees are available for viewing in CORES; we will update you when the Notice is released.
- While FY 2022 regulatory fees will not become effective until the rulemaking is published in the Federal Register, regulatees may submit payments at any time before the effective due date of FY 2022 regulatory fees at their own discretion.
3) COVID-19: In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC has extended the COVID-19 relief procedures adopted last year. A Public Notice with further instructions will likely be released shortly, however, here is a summary of the procedures that were adopted last year:
- The Commission anticipates that some regulatees will require fee relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the Commission’s authority to provide relief is limited. Fee relief may be granted only to those regulatees “unambiguously articulating ‘extraordinary circumstances’ outweighing the public interest in recouping the cost of the Commissions regulatory services.” Parties seeking waiver, reduction, deferral, or installment payments of FY 2022 regulatory fees must send their requests with supporting documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org before the payment deadline.
- A request to waive and/or defer payment of FY 2022 regulatory fees based on financial hardship must include supporting financial documents such as tax returns, a balance sheet or profit and loss statement (audited if possible), cash flow projections for the next 12 months, or a list of officers and highest paid individual employees with each person’s compensation. Documents demonstrating the pandemic’s impact on the regulatee’s financial decline, such as banking and investment records, credit card statements, loan documents, or balances owed may also be included. The Commission will not grant a financial hardship waiver without satisfactory resolution of all outstanding debt owed by the regulatee to the Commission.
- A request to waive and/or defer payment of FY 2022 regulatory fees on grounds other than financial hardship must comply with 1.1166 of the Commission’s rules including an electronic filing by email request with all supporting documents to email@example.com before the payment deadline.
- The request for an installment payment may be combined in a single filing with a waiver and deferral request made on financial hardship grounds. The supporting financial documentation submitted with an installment payment request must show that the regulatee cannot pay its FY 2022 fees in full by the payment deadline.