Should your clients be paying the data protection fee?

All organisations and sole traders processing personal information are now required to pay an annual data protection fee of between £40 and £2,900 to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) unless they are exempt. The data protection fee is used to fund the ICO’s data protection work.

The ICO are currently carrying out a campaign to contact companies who have not yet paid the fee, according to accountancy firm Moore.

According to the ICO, any organisation holding personal information or business purposes on any electronic device – including CCTV for crime prevention purposes – will have to pay an annual data protection fee unless they are exempt.

The ICO states that “there aren’t many circumstances where exemptions apply” and it is likely that most companies will have to pay the annual data protection fee. The fee can be paid online via the ICO website.

To find out whether any exemptions apply to you, you can use the ICOs online self-assessment checker at www.ico.org.uk/fee-checker

If the online checker determines that you are exempt from having to pay, you should register this with the ICO at www.ico.org.uk/no-fee to avoid further investigation.

The cost of the data protection fee depends on an organisations size and turnover. There are three tiers of fee ranging from £40 and £2,900, but for most small and medium organisations it will be £40 or £60. The cost is reduced by £5 if paid by Direct Debit.

If you haven’t yet done so you should visit the ICO website and either pay your organisation’s data protection fee online, or complete the online form to explain why your organisation is exempt from paying the fee.

Organisations who are not exempt and who do not pay the data protection fee could be fined up to £4,000 and could be publicly named by the ICO.

To find out more,visit https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-fee/ or you can contact the ICO’s small business helpline on 0303 123 1113 between 9am and 5pm weekdays (excluding bank holidays).

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