Data protection – do you need to pay?

Small companies and small traders are being targeted by The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in a campaign to remind them of their legal responsibility to pay a data protection fee.

A number of WNJ clients have already received letters from the ICO. The cost of the data protection fee depends on a company’s size and turnover.

There are three tiers of fee ranging from £40 and £2,900, but for most organisations it will be £40 or £60. The ICO letter warns that those that don’t could be fined up to £4,000 a year.

If you’ve received a letter from the ICO, you need to either pay your fee promptly or let the ICO know you’re exempt, so it can update its records.

Under the Data Protection Act 2018 organisations processing personal information are required to pay a data protection fee unless they are exempt.

You can quickly and easily find out if your organisation needs to pay the fee by using the ICO’s self-assessment checker on its website.

ICO’s deputy chief executive Paul Arnold explains: “If you hold personal information for business purposes on any electronic device, including using CCTV for crime prevention purposes, it is likely an annual fee payment is due.”

Since the new annual data protection fee was introduced in May 2018, more than 600,000 organisations have registered to pay it.

At the same time, between July and September last year, the ICO issued more than 550 monetary penalties to organisations that have not paid.

Paul Arnold says: “As well as naming most organisations we need to fine; we also publish the names of all fee-paying organisations.

“This helps them make it clear to their customers, clients and suppliers that they are aware of their legal obligations when processing personal information.

“We know data protection legislation can be complicated and we are here to help. The reminders we are sending to organisations are to help make it easy to comply with the law as well as access a great deal of advice and support available from the ICO.”

The ICO has put together a self-assessment checker that can be found at:

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