Cable FY 2021 Annual Regulatory Fees Due by September 24, 2021

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By September 24, 2021, cable operators must pay all required annual regulatory fee payments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission). Payments received after the deadline will be assessed a 25% late payment penalty.

The use of “Fee Filer” in preparing the regulatory fee filings is mandatory. The Fee Filer website is found here.

Payment may be made by online ACH payment, online credit card, debit card or wire transfer. When paying by wire transfer, a Form 159-E must first be sent by fax so that the FCC can associate the wire payment with the correct regulatory fee information. The FCC no longer accepts checks (including cashier’s checks and money orders) for payment of regulatory fees. Payment by credit/debit card is limited to $24,999.99.

You are required to pay a fee for all basic cable subscribers[1] as of December 31, 2020, and all FCC authorizations held as of October 1, 2020. Payment is required even if the licensed facility is not actively used. For licenses that were assigned or transferred after October 1, 2020, the current licensee is responsible for payment.

The FCC has been aggressive about assessing the 25% penalty even in situations where payment is only a day late. The FCC will withhold action on any application filed by any licensee that is delinquent in any non-tax debts owed to the Commission (including regulatory fees) and will ultimately dismiss those applications or other requests if payment of the delinquent debt or other satisfactory arrangement for payment is not made. Failure to pay regulatory fees can also result in the initiation of a proceeding to revoke any and all authorizations held by the delinquent payer.

For more information about the Commission’s regulatory fee procedures, please review this website or contact the FCC Financial Operations Help Desk at (877) 480-3201, Option 6.

[1]           Cable television system operators should compute their basic subscribers as follows: Number of single-family dwellings + number of individual households in multiple dwelling unit (apartments, condominiums, mobile home parks, etc.) paying at the basic subscriber rate + bulk rate customers + courtesy and free service. Note: Bulk-Rate Customers = Total annual bulk-rate charge divided by basic annual subscription rate for individual households. Operators may base their count on “a typical day in the last full week” of December 2020, rather than on a count as of December 31, 2020.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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