The new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Annual Fee for Responsible Organizations (Resp Orgs) will be due this September. This is an FCC-imposed fee, not a Somos fee. You will be paying the fees directly to the FCC. Somos will not bill for or collect this fee. It is every Resp Org’s responsibility to make sure their FCC fees are paid on time.
Approximately 3rd week of August 2015: The FCC will notify Resp Orgs primary and billing contacts that their accounts are set up in the FCC Fee Filer system. This account notification will be your only communication from the FCC, unless you fail to pay your bill on time.
Approximately 4th week of August 2015: FCC annual bills will be available to view and pay in the FCC Fee Filer system
Approximately 3rd week of September 2015: FCC annual fees due. Failure to pay on time will result in significant fines and penalities.
If your company already pays fees to the FCC for other services, the FCC will most likely use your existing FRN to create your bill.
If you wish to have a separate FRN from the rest of your company, please contact the FCC Financial Operations help desk at 1-877-480-3201 (option 4), or email ARINQUIRIES@FCC.GOV.
If you fail to obtain an FRN by the time the bills are available, the FCC will assign you an FRN and a temporary password.
De Mininis Filers:
If your company's entire FCC annual fee bill across all fee categories (such as wireless or wireline telephony) is $500 or less, your fees will be deemed de minimis and a TFN bill will not be created.
The FCC will send an email notifying Resp Orgs that fall under the de minimis exception ($500 or less) for the 2015. The FCC will not likely send out such notifications in future years.
The FCC will begin imposing a new annual fee on Resp Orgs based on the number of Toll-Free Numbers (TFNs) each Resp Org manages. This fee, which we reported on last December, will be due for the first time this September. Somos is working with the FCC to make sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible and to ensure that all Resp Orgs are aware on this new fee, in effort to help them avoid any penalties and sanctions from the FCC. The FCC order can be found here. The Toll-Free section starts on page 9, paragraph 23.
The new fee will be an annual payment of 12 cents per TFN, equivalent to one cent per month. The FCC will use the TFN count from your December 14 Somos bill to generate the annual fee amount. For the bills that will be due this September, the FCC will use TFN counts from December 14, 2014.
These fees will be payable to the FCC, and not Somos. The FCC-imposed fees are separate and apart from the fees owed to Somos.
In order to pay these fees, all Resp Orgs, no matter how small, and regardless of whether the company’s overall annual FCC fees fall below the $500 de minimis amount, will be required to have a Fee Filer account in the FCC’s fee system, along with a FCC Registration Number (FRN). It is our understanding that the FCC plans to create these accounts and send emails to each Resp Org’s billing contact(s) to complete the account setup process. If the FCC decides not to set up the accounts, instructions will be sent out, from the FCC and/or Somos, regarding how Resp Orgs can set up the accounts directly.
Sometime in late August or early September, the FCC will issue its annual public notice to the telecommunications industry indicating that the FCC bills are available. Resp Orgs will need to logon to their account and pay their bill. You will not receive individual notification at this time. The bill payment deadline will likely be in mid or late September, depending on when the bills are generated. Last year, the FCC Public Notice was released on Aug. 29, 2014, with fees due by Sept. 23, 2014.
The consequences of not paying your FCC bill on time can be severe. Failure to pay on time will result in a 25% fine, plus accumulation of interest on the amount due. Continued failure to pay after 120 days may result in referral to the Department of the Treasury for collection, where an additional 28% is tacked on, along with additional interest. In addition, the FCC can require Somos to freeze a Resp Org’s access to additional TFNs or suspend their account.
We will continue to keep Resp Orgs informed on this new fee and of any changes and upcoming deadlines between now and the end of September. For direct information, please feel free to contact the FCC’s financial operations help desk by calling 1-877-480-3201 (option 4), or emailing ARINQUIRIES@FCC.gov.