Information Commissioner’s Office – Registration Fee

23 Feb 2021

Data protection may have been a less high profile issue during the Covid pandemic but it remains a key obligation for businesses and one that can prove very costly where breaches occur.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) is the key government body with oversight over the data protection regulations.  It is funded in part by registration fees from businesses which are required to registers unless an exemption applies.  Many newly registered businesses are currently receiving letters reminding them of their obligation to register and the fees for doing so.  While the fees for registering are not significant (either £40 or £60) the fines for not doing so are much greater – up to £4,000.

Any business which processes personal information should consider whether they are required to register.  For those that hold customer names, addresses or phone numbers in a digital format, they are processing personal information and are likely to be required to register and pay.  If a business uses surveillance cameras (like CCTV) for crime prevention these is definitely a need to pay.

There are some limited exemptions – the ICO provides a self-assessment fee checker to allow businesses to decide whether they need to pay or not:

If a business concludes they do not need to register they still need to inform the ICO but completing an online form linked via the tool above.

While this is yet another admin burden on businesses both old and new, it is equally not something that can be ignored.  As mentioned above, the fines for not registering and paying if required to do so are significant and a few minutes confirming the position for your business is likely to prove to be time well spent.

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