FCC Regulatory Fee Payment and Waiver/Reduction Deadlines Extended

Posted on September 29th, 2022 by

Originally set for September 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, the FCC has now extended the 2022 Regulatory Fee payment deadline until September 30, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EDT due to payment system issues and Hurricane Ian.

The FCC called the system issues “technical challenges” but from direct experience, the CORES payment module was not advancing to the payment portal and was timing out users.  The system was also randomly logging out users.  Our suspicion is that the system became overloaded as broadcasters sought to pay fees in the final two days before the original deadline.  With 25% automatic penalties for late payments, broadcast licensees had growing concerns that system issues might trigger late payments and penalties.  This latest FCC system anomaly gives us a good opportunity to repeat advice we have long offered clients – do everything possible to avoid complying with FCC deadlines on the day prior or day of the deadline.  Inevitably, issues arise that slow or cause malfunctions, and extensions do not always follow.  The earlier a deadline-driven action can be taken, the better.

The FCC also extended the deadline for filing requests for waiver, reduction, deferral and installment payment of the 2022 Regulatory Fees to September 30, 2022 at 11:50 p.m. EDT.  For stations impacted by Hurricane Ian that had not paid by the time the storm made landfall, this extension presents opportunities to lessen immediate financial burdens as storm and economic recovery efforts get underway.   Waiver requests filed after the deadline will not be dismissed for late filing, however, fees not paid in full for which a waiver/deferral request is not filed by the deadline will automatically be assessed at 25% late fee.

Licensees whose total fees are less than $1,000 do not have to remit payment, but with fee increases this year, fewer stations will enjoy that relief.  Non-profit licensees of commercial stations are exempt from annual regulatory fees, but must have submitted proof of non-profit status to the FCC.  Non-profit licensees of commercial stations should check the status of their station in the FCC’s systems to confirm that they are indeed exempt and have not been assessed a fee.

Payments can only be electronically submitted via credit card or electronic funds transfer.  We recommend credit card, as it is the simplest method.  CORES username logins are needed to submit fees at this link.  Information on all aspects of 2022 Regulatory Fees, including the just announced extensions, can be found here.