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FCC to Industry: Get Those $300M-Plus Regulatory Fees In

The FCC is reminding all regulated entities, which includes broadcasters and MVPDs, that their regulatory fees are due by midnight Sept. 24.

The FCC released its new fee schedule last month outlining how it will divide up the $339,000,000 in fee obligations it plans to collect in 2019.

In a fact sheet released this week on the process for getting good-cause waivers from the fees, the FCC said in bold print: "Regulatory fee payments MUST BE RECEIVED by the Commission no later than 11:59 PM, Eastern Daylight Time, on Sept. 24, 2019 (the "Due Date")." The explicit "or else" in that statement is the 25% late penalty on any late-payers, plus interest until it is paid, as well as dire consequences including "dismissing delinquent regulatees’ pending applications and actions, revoking delinquent regulatees’ authorizations and licenses, offsetting unpaid regulatory fee debt against monies owed by the Commission, and referring unpaid regulatory fee debt to the United States Department of Treasury for further collection."

And while the FCC also outlines its waiver process, relief will only be granted, it says, to those "unambiguously articulating ‘extraordinary circumstances’ outweighing the public interest in recouping the cost of the Commission's regulatory services."

The FCC pays for itself out of the fees it collects from regulated entities.