32 CFR § 1800.13 - Fees for record services.
(a)In general.Search, review, and reproduction fees will be charged in accordance with the provisions below relating to schedule, limitations, and category of requester. Applicable fees will be due even if our search locates no responsive records or some or all of the responsive records must be denied under one or more of the exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act.
(b)Fee waiver requests. Records will be furnished without charge or at a reduced rate whenever NACIC determines:
(1) That, as a matter of administrative discretion, the interest of the United States Government would be served, or
(2) That it is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to the public understanding of the operations or activities of the United States Government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester; NACIC shall consider the following factors when making this determination:
(i) Whether the subject of the request concerns the operations or activities of the United States Government; and, if so,
(ii) Whether the disclosure of the requested documents is likely to contribute to an understanding of United States Government operations or activities; and, if so,
(iii) Whether the disclosure of the requested documents will contribute to public understanding of United States Government operations or activities; and, if so,
(iv) Whether the disclosure of the requested documents is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of United States Government operations and activities; and
(v) Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and, if so,
(vi) Whether the disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
(c)Fee waiver appeals. Denials of requests for fee waivers or reductions may be appealed to the Director, NACIC via the Coordinator. A requester is encouraged to provide any explanation or argument as to how his or her request satisfies the statutory requirement set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.
(d)Time for fee waiver requests and appeals. It is suggested that such requests and appeals be made and resolved prior to the initiation of processing and the incurring of costs. However, fee waiver requests will be accepted at any time prior to the release of documents or the completion of a case, and fee waiver appeals within forty-five (45) days of our initial decision subject to the following condition: if processing has been initiated, then the requester must agree to be responsible for costs in the event of an adverse administrative or judicial decision.
(e)Agreement to pay fees. In order to protect requesters from large and/or unanticipated charges, NACIC will request specific commitment when it estimates that fees will exceed $100.00. NACIC will hold in abeyance for forty-five (45) days requests requiring such agreement and will thereafter deem the request closed. This action, of course, would not prevent an individual from refiling his or her FOIA request with a fee commitment at a subsequent date.
(f)Deposits.NACIC may require an advance deposit of up to 100 percent of the estimated fees when fees may exceed $250.00 and the requester has no history of payment, or when, for fees of any amount, there is evidence that the requester may not pay the fees which would be accrued by processing the request. NACIC will hold in abeyance for forty-five (45) days those requests where deposits have been requested.
(g)Schedule of fees -
(1)In general. The schedule of fees for services performed in responding to requests for records is established as follows:
(i) Personnel Search and Review
(ii) Computer Search and Production
(iii) Paper Production
(2)Application of schedule. Personnel search time includes time expended in either manual paper records searches, indices searches, review of computer search results for relevance, personal computer system searches, and various reproduction services. In any event where the actual cost to NACIC of a particular item is less than the above schedule (e.g., a large production run of a document resulted in a cost less than $5.00 per hundred pages), then the actual lesser cost will be charged.
(3)Other services. For all other types of output, production, or reproduction (e.g., photographs, maps, or published reports), actual cost or amounts authorized by statute. Determinations of actual cost shall include the commercial cost of the media, the personnel time expended in making the item to be released, and an allocated cost of the equipment used in making the item, or, if the production is effected by a commercial service, then that charge shall be deemed the actual cost for purposes of this part.
(h)Limitations on collection of fees -
(1)In general. No fees will be charged if the cost of collecting the fee is equal to or greater than the fee itself. That cost includes the administrative costs to NACIC of billing, receiving, recording, and processing the fee for deposit to the Treasury Department and, as of the date of these regulations, is deemed to be $10.00.
(2)Requests for personal information. No fees will be charged for requesters seeking records about themselves under the FOIA; such requests are processed in accordance with both the FOIA and the Privacy Act in order to ensure the maximum disclosure without charge.
(i)Fee categories. There are four categories of FOIA requesters for fee purposes: “commercial use” requesters, “educational and non-commercial scientific institution” requesters, “representatives of the news media” requesters, and “all other” requesters. The categories are defined in § 1800.2, and applicable fees, which are the same in two of the categories, will be assessed as follows:
(3) “All other” requesters: Charges which recover the full direct cost of searching for and reproducing responsive records (if any) beyond the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search time which will be furnished without charge.
(j)Associated requests. A requester or associated requesters may not file a series of multiple requests, which are merely discrete subdivisions of the information actually sought for the purpose of avoiding or reducing applicable fees. In such instances, NACIC may aggregate the requests and charge the applicable fees.