FCC Annual Regulatory Fees are due to be submitted to the FCC by 11:59 PM on September 13, 2012, according to a series of public notices issued by the FCC. The FCC’s Public Notice providing the instructions for broadcaster’s fees is available here. As set forth in that notice, the Commission will no longer be mailing a reminder to broadcasters about these fees, so stations need to remember their obligations on their own. The FCC’s website, www.fccfees.com , will provide information about the fee filing process and the amounts that stations owe. The amount of the obligations are based on the class of the station and the population within the station’s coverage area.
Fees are computed as of October 1, 2011, the start of the FCC’s last fiscal year. For stations that have in the last year received upgraded their facilities, or built out new construction permits for new stations, the fees are still paid based on the status of the station as of October 1, 2011. Stations pay fees not only for their main licenses, but also for boosters, translators and auxiliary stations (e.g. STLs). Parties who have financial hardship or other reasons that they cannot pay the fees can ask for a waiver. Another public notice sets out the standards for a waiver showing.
An FCC Form 159-E voucher must be generated by each station through an FCC online filing, and that voucher must be submitted with all fees paid to the bank used by the FCC for fee collection purposes. Credit card transactions are limited to fees of $49,999 or less.
Remember, failure to pay the fees on time will result in a “red light” on the licensee, meaning that applications by the licensee will not be prosecuted. Late fees and penalties also will be imposed if the fees are not paid by the September 13 deadline. You’ll get no more reminders from the FCC – so make sure that the payments are made on time!