By September 20, 2023, broadcast (radio and television) licensees 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.

Regulatory fee filings for 2023 and beyond must be prepared and submitted through the Regulatory Fee Manager feature in the FCC's "COmmission REgistration System," more commonly known as "CORES." The CORES website is found here. We've prepared this step-by-step guide to setting up the necessary individual CORES user accounts and permissions and paying your fees via the CORES system.

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 FCC authorizations held as of October 1, 2022, even if the station is silent or the license was surrendered for cancellation after that date. For stations that were assigned or transferred after October 1, 2022, 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.

The FCC's 2023 Schedule of Regulatory Fees for full power television stations is located here,for other selected fees (e.g. LPTV, Class A, earth stations) here, and for radio stations here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.