The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a campaign aimed at contacting all registered UK companies to remind them of their legal responsibility to pay a data protection fee. The campaign marks the start of an extensive programme by the ICO to make sure the data protection fee is paid by all those who are required to pay it.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, organisations and sole traders processing personal information are required to pay the data protection fee, unless they are exempt. The ICO has produced a self-assessment checker to enable businesses to check if they are required to pay the fee, but it advises that if the business holds personal information for business purposes on any electronic device, including using CCTV for crime prevention purposes, it is likely the annual fee payment is due. 

Since the fee was introduced in May 2018, over 600,000 organisations have registered to pay it. At the same time, between 1 July and 30 September 2019, the ICO issued 340 monetary penalties to organisations that had not paid the fee. The cost of the fee depends on the organisation’s size and turnover. There are three tiers of fee ranging from £40 to £2,900, but for most organisations it will be £40 or £60. The cost is reduced by £5 if paid by direct debit. The fee can be paid online, or organisations can complete a form stating why they are exempt from paying the fee.