All organisations, companies and sole traders that process personal data must pay an annual fee to the ICO unless they are exempt. For ‘small’ businesses this is £40 (or £35 if paid by direct debit).
Organisations across the business services, construction and finance sectors are among the first to be fined by the ICO for not paying the data protection fee. This follows regulations which came into force alongside the new Data Protection Act on 25 May 2018.
These first organisations have been fined for not renewing their fees following their expiry and more fines are set to follow. More than 900 notices of intent to fine have been issued by the ICO since September and more than 100 penalty notices are being issued in this first round.
The money collected from the data protection fee funds the ICO’s work such as investigations into data breaches and complaints, and guidance and resources for organisations to help them comply with their data protection obligations. The ICO has grown over the last two years and now employs 670 staff.
Paul Arnold, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the ICO, said:
“You are breaking the law if you process personal data or are responsible for processing it and do not pay the data protection fee to the ICO. We produce lots of guidance for organisations on our website to help them decide whether they need to pay and how they can do this.”
Fines range from £400 to £4,000 depending on the size and turnover of the organisation. Failure to pay the data protection fee is now a civil offence under the GDPR, previously this was a criminal offence under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Organisations that have a current registration (or notification) under the 1998 Act – prior to 25 May 2018 – do not have to pay the new fee until that registration has expired. You can check if your fee is due for renewal here.
Don’t get caught out.