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Federal Communications Commission

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The FCC collects regulatory fees and processing fees. Congress authorizes our authority to impose and collect such fees. Application processing fees are deposited in the U.S. Treasury and are not available to the FCC.

The FCC collects several types of fees:

  • Application Processing Fees for licenses, equipment approvals, antenna registrations, tariff filings, formal complaints (not ordinary complaints), and other authorizations and regulatory actions.
  • Annual Regulatory Fees collected from specific categories of regulated entities in the mass media, common carrier, wireless, international and cable television services.
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Fees for processing requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Auction Payments for upfront payments, down payments, and subsequent payments for licenses that the FCC auctions.
  • Forfeitures are penalties that the FCC may assess for violations of law or noncompliance with authorizations.  

You can pay the FCC three ways:

  • Online - This is the easiest way to pay annual regulatory fees, outstanding bills from the FCC, or application fees for electronically filed applications.  Pay by credit card or debit from a bank account.  
  • FCC Form 159 - This form can be sent by mail to pay any type of FCC fee by check, credit card, or wire transfer.  Some FCC bills include a version of Form 159 with most information pre-filled for you.
  • If you receive a forfeiture order, it will include instructions on how to send payment.

Do you have outstanding debt to the FCC?  This may be holding up action on your application, under the FCC's 'Red Light Rule'.  Check your status on the FCC's Red Light Display System.  

Problem with a payment you made or a debt you owe to the FCC?  Contact the FCC's Financial Operations Group Help Desk at or 1-877-480-3201 (option 4).  

More details and information can be found at  


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