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Debt Collection Improvement Act Implementation

Overview

In 2004, the FCC adopted rules implementing the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA) (FCC No. 04-72 (April 13, 2004)). See 47 C. F. R. Part 1, Subpart O. Congress enacted the DCIA to strengthen Federal debt collection procedures. Pub. L.No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321, 1358 (1996). The FCC’s new DCIA implementing rules went into effect on June 16, 2004, except for changes relating to the handling of applications and other requests by delinquent debtors, which take effect on October 1, 2004.

The DCIA rules require that entities or individuals doing business with the FCC pay their debts in a timely manner. The rules also explain how entities or individuals are notified of debts owed to the FCC, and how the FCC will collect those debts. The rules provide that if you fail to pay debts owed to the FCC, the debts will be referred to the Department of Treasury for collection. Your failure to pay will be reported to credit reporting agencies, and you will be unable to obtain any licenses or other benefits from the FCC.

The “Red Light Rule”

The inability of delinquent debtors to obtain FCC benefits is also known as the “red light rule.” The red light rule requires the Commission to withhold action on applications and other requests for benefits when the entity applying for or seeking benefits is delinquent in non-tax debts owed to the Commission, and to dismiss such applications or other request if the delinquency is not resolved. In determining whether an entity is delinquent for purposes of the red light rule, the Commission matches the FCC Registration Number (or FRN) of the applying entity to its database of debts; the applicant’s FRN will be linked to all other FRN’s associated with the same Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). To obtain an FRN, go to our CORES registration site http://www.fcc.gov/cores

Checking the Status of Your FCC Account

The Red Light Display System (RLD). The FCC has created a new Red Light Display System (RLD) to enable entities doing business with the FCC to determine if they have any outstanding delinquent debt. The RLD enables you to check the status of your account by individual FRNs, and links other FRNs sharing the same TIN when determining whether there are outstanding delinquent debts. The RLD is now operational at http://www.fcc.gov/redlight/.

Fee Filer. The Fee Filer system enables you to pay FCC bills and receivables online, including delinquent debt. To pay a bill, either (a) log in with the debtor's FRN and password - any bills are automatically retrieved or (b) log in with any FRN, then type in the debtor's FRN and bill number to retrieve bill information.

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