RSPA to reduce hazmat registration fees
Jan 9, 2003 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) is reducing the registration fees paid by companies that transport hazardous materials. According to information in the January 9 "Federal Register," small business registration fees will be reduced to $125, plus a $25 processing fee, and the fee for all others will be reduced to $275, plus the processing fee.
RSPA was collecting $300 from small businesses and $2,000 from all other registrants. The new rule goes into effect March 3, 2003.
The fee reduction will last three years. In the registration year 2006-2007, the annual registration fee will increase to $250 for small businesses and $975 for others, plus the processing fees.
"The real issue here is not money, says Cliff Harvison, president of the National Tank Truck Carriers, which with more than a dozen other associations had protested the higher fees and filed a lawsuit to force a rollback. "Obviously, the relative amounts of both the reductions and the refunds are marginal. However, RSPA has been overcollecting for years, and federal law mandated the reductions. It's a shame that NTTC and the other associations had to run to the courthouse and pay lawyers to get the feds to comply."
According to the information in the "Federal Register," RSPA recognizes that the fee structure that would go into effect with the 2006-2007 registration year may require further revision to avoid accumulating an unexpended balance, and will reevaluate the account balance and the fee levels during the 2005-2006 registration year.
The RSPA decision follows trucking industry protests after RSPA collected more than $21 million in each registration year since 2000. Transportation associations that protested the issue included the Hazardous Materials Advisory Council, American Chemistry Council, American Trucking Associations, Conference on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles, Petroleum Marketers Association of America and National Propane Gas Association.
The collection exceeded the amount the agency was authorized to use for designated programs. The fund was to be used to gather information about hazmat transportation and to fund the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) grants program that supports hazmat emergency response planning and training activities by states, local governments, and Indian tribes.
Refunds will be provided for the higher registration fees paid in advance for the years up to the cutoff. A letter will be sent approximately 45 days after the publication of the final rule to each registrant that, on that date, is due a refund for fees paid in advance for the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 registration years. The letter will specify the amount of the refund and will be accompanied by a Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. The form must be submitted to RSPA before a refund can be made. Registrants that have submitted registrations including payment for the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 registration years that do not receive a letter within this time frame should contact the registration office at 202-366-4109.
Persons who later pay in advance for the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 registration years at the higher fee levels being reduced by this rule will be similarly contacted for the purpose of providing refunds for the overpayment. Of the approximately 4,550 registrants due refunds, 4,250 small businesses will receive refunds of $150 (3,050) or $300 (1,200), and 300 others will receive refunds of $1,700 (200) or $3,400 (100).
Companies qualify as a small business under criteria specified in 13 CFR part 121 applicable to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that describes that company's primary commercial activity.
To see the information in its entirety, click here for the Federal Register.