Establishing a Proper Fee Schedule Under the Independent Offices Appropriation Act, 1952

CED-77-70: Published: May 6, 1977. Publicly Released: May 6, 1977.

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A review was conducted of the actions taken by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered FCC to recalculate its 1970 and 1975 fee schedules.

GAO believes that sufficient guidance is contained in the recent court decisions from which a proper fee schedule can be established. As a result, contrary to the FCC position, GAO believes that FCC can make a good-faith effort to recalculate its fee schedules and refund only the excess portion of the $164 million in fees collected from 1970 through 1976. FCC interpreted the court decisions to require that fees not only be based on costs but also on the value conferred upon the people or organizations paying the fees which FCC stated that it is unable to do. GAO does not believe that the court of appeals requires FCC to measure separately the value conferred. Instead, based upon interpretation of the court decisions, FCC can establish a proper fee schedule based solely on cost.

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