The FCC has announced a deadline of 11:59 PM on September 27 for receipt of its Fiscal Year 2016 annual regulatory fees. Fees are owed on all authorizations held as of October 1, 2015 but must be paid by the current holder.
Payment may be made by credit card, Automated Clearing House (ACH) debits from a bank account or wire transfers. The maximum acceptable daily credit card payment is $24,999.99, so multiple days or alternative means must be used for larger payments. Wired funds must be sent to the U.S. Treasury in New York City and must be preceded by a Fee Filer Wire Transfer Instruction Form sent by telecopy to the FCC at least one hour before initiating the wire. Regardless of the method used, the payment process must be initiated through the FCC’s on-line Fee Filer system.
Full payment must be received by the September 27 deadline in order to avoid the 25% late payment penalty, plus interest and processing fees. Debts older than 120 days may be referred for collection to the Treasury Department, which can be more complex to deal with than the FCC. This year, the FCC warned television licensees that incentive auction payments will be withheld so long as regulatory fees are delinquent.
Again this year the FCC will not send bills. Instead, licensees are required to determine their obligation and ensure timely payment through the on-line Fee Filer system. Full details can be obtained from the FCC website here. The Fee Filer can be accessed here.
We attach for your reference a final list of the 2016 regulatory fees. Note that the former $10 fee for each auxiliary microwave facility is no longer in effect. Although the FCC reduced its proposed fees for the two lowest categories of AM and FM stations, it rejected other comments proposing to base regulatory fees upon revenues (on the basis that revenues are no longer reported to the FCC) and to discount AM fees more steeply so as to reflect that band’s challenges.
Licensees are exempt from regulatory fee payments if their total liability is $500 or less. Although the lowest fee for even a single full-power broadcast station exceeds that amount, licensees of a single translator or booster ($455), Low Power or Class A TV station ($455) or earth station ($345) may be able to benefit from this exemption.
We are in the process of contacting our clients who relied upon us to pay their regulatory fees last year. If we can assist you this year and you have not heard from us within the next few days, please let us know so we will have sufficient time to prepare your submissions.