Annual regulatory fees are mandated by Congress, pursuant to Section 9 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Section 9 requires the Commission to collect regulatory fees to recover the regulatory costs associated with the its enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international activities.
FY 2020 Regulatory Fees
May 13, 2020 - R&O/NPRM
FCC Makes Regulatory Fee Rules Fairer and Initiates FY2020 Process
FY 2019 - Who Owes Fees and What is My Fee
- Cable Television Systems
- Commercial Wireless Services
- International and Satellite Services Licensees
- Interstate Telecommunications Service Providers (ITSPs) and Toll Free Numbers
- Media Services Licensees
- Informational Look-Up for Media Services
- Submarine Cable Systems
- Waiver, Reduction and Deferral
- Payment Methods and Procedures
How to Make Payment
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are regulatory fees?
A: 47 U.S.C. §159 establishes four broad categories of Commission activities as regulatory. These are all "enforcement activities, policy and rulemaking activities, user information services, and international activities." The statute then requires the FCC to "assess and collect" fees to recover the costs of these activities. Thus, the fees that cover the costs of these four types of activities are called regulatory fees.
Regulatory fees are distinct from application fees, which are authorized in 47 U.S.C. §158. Application fees cover the FCC's costs related to licensing communication service providers. This includes activities such as issuing permits, testing applicants, certifying licenses, authorizing transfers, assigning or transferring call signs, and adjudicating disagreements.
Q: Why does my company have to pay these fees?
A: Each year, as part of the passage of the federal budget, Congress establishes an amount that the FCC must collect in regulatory fees. This year that amount is $339 million. Based upon 47 U.S.C. §159, the FCC is obligated to collect this amount from every organization that benefits in any way from the FCC's enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information, and international activities.
The regulatory fee section of the law does not specifically exempt any group from paying this fee; although, it does allow the Commission to waive, reduce, or defer payment of a fee "for good cause shown, where such action would promote the public interest." The FCC has interpreted this to mean that regulatory fees will not be applied to state and local governments, amateur radio operator licensees (other than amateur vanity call signs), and non-profit organizations. The FCC also allows companies in precarious financial situations or bankruptcy to petition for a case-by-case decision on a waiver or reduction of the regulatory fee.
Q: When are the fees due?
A: Payments for FY 2019 regulatory fees must be received by 11:59 p.m., September 27, 2019.
Q: What if my company can't pay by the due date?
A: While 47 U.S.C. §159 does not specifically exempt any organization from paying regulatory fees it does require penalties for late payment. The statute specifically says, "Such penalty shall be 25 percent of the amount of the fee which was not paid in a timely manner."
Q: I want to talk to a human being, who do I call?
A: Those with questions related to the FCC's Fee Filer program should call the toll-free Help Line at 1-877-480-3201 and select option 6.