Discretion in charging fees --
Fees required unless waived. The Freedom of Information Act
Officer shall charge the fees in paragraph (b) of this section unless the fees for a request are less than
$10, in which case no fees shall be charged. The Freedom of Information Act Officer shall, however,
waive the fees in the circumstances stated in 2201.9.
News media requests deemed not commercial. Requests made for a commercial
use are generally subject to
higher fees than requests from a representative of the news media. For the purpose of this section, a
request from a representative of the news media that supports the news dissemination function of the
requester will not be considered to be for a commercial use.
Determination of Commercial Use
Request. A commercial use request refers to a request from or on behalf of one who seeks information
for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade or profit interests of the requester or the person
on whose behalf the request is made. Where the Freedom of Information Act Officer has reasonable
cause to doubt the use to
which a requester will put the records
sought, or where that use is not clear from the request itself, the Freedom of Information Act Officer may
seek clarifcation from the requester before assigning the request to a specific category for fee
Types of fees -
Copying fee. The
fee per copy of each page up to 8 1/2" x 14"
shall be $.25 per copy per page. Copying
fees shall not be charged for the first
100 pages of copies unless the copies are
requested for a commercial use. One
copy of a Commission or judge's decision will be provided free of charge.
Search fee. The fee for searching
for information and records shall be $19
per hour of clerical time and $46 per
hour of professional time. Fees for
searches of computerized records shall
be the actual cost to the Commission
but shall not exceed $300 per hour. This
fee includes machine time and that of
the operator and clerical personnel.
The fee for computer printouts shall be
$.40 per page. Commercial requesters
shall be charged for all search time.
Time spent on unsuccessful searches
shall be fully charged. However, search
fees shall be limited or not charged as
Easily identifiable decisions. Search
fees shall not be charged for searching
for decisions that the requester identifies
by name and date, or by docket
number, or that are otherwise easily
Educational, scientific or news media requests. No fee shall be charged if the request is not for a
commercial use and is by an educational or scientific institution, whose purpose is scholarly or scientiffc
research, or by a representative of the news media.
Other non-commercial requests. No fee shall be charged for the first two hours of searching if the
request is not for a commercial use and is not by an educational or scientific institution, or a
representative of the news media.
Requests for records about self. No fee shall be charged to search for records filed in the
Commission's systems of records if the requester is the
subject of the requested records. See
the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C.
552a(f)(5) (fees to be charged only for copying).
Review fee. A review fee shall be charged only for commercial requests. The review fee shall be
charged for the initial examination of documents located in response to a request to determine if it may
be withheld from disclosure, and for the excision of withholdable portions, but shall not be charged for
review by the Chairman under 2201.7(c). The review fee is $20 per hour.
Aggregation of requests. When the Freedom of Information Act Officer reasonably believes that a
requester, or a group of requesters acting in concert, is attempting to break a request into a series of
requests for the purpose of evading the assessment of fees, the Freedom of Information Act Officer may
aggregate any such requests and charge accordingly.
Certification or authentication. The fee for certification or authentication shall be $3 per document.
Fees likely to exceed $25. If copying or search charges are likely to exceed $25, the Freedom of
Information Act Officer shall notify the requester of the estimated amount of the charges, unless the
requester has indicated in advance a willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. The
notification shall offer the requester an opportunity to confer with the Freedom of Information Act Officer
to reformulate the request to meet the requester's needs at a lower cost.
Advance Payments. Advance payment of fees will generally not be required.
If, however, charges are likely to exceed $250, the Freedom
of Information Act Officer shall notify the requester of the likely cost and: if the requester has a history of
prompt payment of FOIA charges, obtain satisfactory assurance of full payment; or if
the requester has no history of payment, require an advance payment of an amount up to the full
estimated charge. If the requester has previously failed to pay a fee within 30 days of the date of billing,
the Freedom of Information Act Officer may request the requester to pay the full amount owed plus any
interest owed as provided in paragraph (g) of this section or demonstrate that he has, in fact, paid the
fee, and to make an advance payment of the full amount of the estimated charges before the Freedom
of Information Act Officer begins to process the new request or a pending request from that requester.
Interest on unpaid bills. The Freedom of Information Act Officer shall begin assessing interest
charges on unpaid bills starting on the thirty-first day after the date the bill was sent. The accrual of
interest will be stayed when the Freedom of Information Act Officer receives a check in payment.
Interest will be at the rate described in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the date of billing.
Debt collection procedures. If bills are unpaid 60 days after the mailing of a written notice to the
requester, the Freedom of Information Act Officer may resort to the debt collection
procedures set out in the Debt Collection
Act of 1982, Pub. L. 97-365, including disclosure to consumer credit reporting agencies (see 26 U.S.C.
6103) and use of collection agencies to encourage payment. See 31 U.S C. 3718 and 3302.
[53 FR 17930, May 19, 1988, as amended at 61
FR 14025, Mar. 29, 1996]