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The Data Protection Fee: who needs to pay?

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have launched a campaign to remind all registered companies in the UK of their legal responsibility to pay the Data Protection Fee. The move marks the start of an extensive programme to make sure the fee is paid by all those who need to pay it.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, organisations processing personal information are required to pay a data protection fee unless they are exempt. You can quickly and easily find out if your client needs to pay the fee by using the ICO’s checker (see https://tinyurl.com/ycu4ny94), but if they hold personal information for business purposes on any electronic device, including using CCTV for crime prevention purposes, it is likely an annual fee payment is due.

ICO Deputy Chief Executive Paul Arnold said: “You can avoid us needing to contact you by either visiting our website to pay your organisation’s Data Protection Fee, or completing a form (https://ico.org.uk/no-fee) to tell us why your organisation is exempt from paying the fee.”

Since the new annual data protection fee was introduced in May 2018, over 600,000 organisations have registered to pay it. They have gone on to access the range of services and support the ICO provides to help them to comply with the law and give their customers, clients and suppliers trust and confidence in the way they process personal information. At the same time, between 1 July and 30 September 2019, the ICO issued 340 monetary penalties to organisations that have not paid the Data Protection Fee.

Arnold said: “We know data protection legislation can be complicated and we are here to help. The reminders we are sending to organisations are to help make it easy to comply with the law as well as access a great deal of advice and support available from the ICO. This includes a Helpline and Live Chat service dedicated to supporting small businesses and organisations; a series of self-assessment tools and products on our website; and advisory visits and support designed to help small businesses and organisations to comply with the law.”

The cost of the data protection fee depends on a company’s size and turnover. There are three tiers of fee ranging from £40 and £2,900, but for most organisations it will be £40 or £60. The cost is reduced by £5 if you sign up by direct debit.

For further advice call the ICO’s small business helpline on 0303 123 1113.

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