The UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

You need to pay unless you’re exempt

It’s the law to pay the data protection fee, which funds the ICO’s work, but it also makes good business sense. Whether or not you have paid the fee could have an impact on your reputation. Paying the fee and being listed on the ICO’s register of fee payers shows that your company take data protection seriously. It is a strong message for your customers – it lets them know that you value and care about their information. It also lets other organisations know that you run a tight ship.

Most companies will only need to pay £40 or £60 a year. For large organisations the fee is £2,900.

If you need to pay and don’t pay, you could be fined.

If you’ve received an ICO fee letter, you should act now

In 2019, we launched a campaign to remind small companies and SMEs of their legal responsibility to pay a data protection fee.

If you’ve received a letter from the ICO quoting your Companies House number, we hope this came as a useful reminder that you need to either pay your fee or let the ICO know you’re exempt, so we can update our records.

You need to act now, either:

  1. if you need to pay, visit ico.org.uk/fee and click ‘first time payment’ if you haven’t registered with the ICO before, or ‘renew’ if you have registered before. You must complete the online application before sending your payment. It takes about 15 minutes. You can save time, hassle and money each year by setting up a Direct Debit, which deducts £5 from your fee;
  2. if you’ve received a letter from the ICO quoting your Companies House number and you don’t need to pay, complete the form at ico.org.uk/no-fee to let the ICO know why your company is exempt from paying the fee; or
  3. if you’re not sure if you’re exempt, you can take our online self-assessment at ico.org.uk/fee-checker.

The fee funds the ICO’s data protection work

We’re here to help. We run a dedicated advice service for small organisations including a helpline and livechat service which is open Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).                                                          

Whether you’re a sole trader, someone who works for themselves, a small business owner, a small charity, a representative from a small school or town council, a start-up, or a small- to medium-sized enterprise, you’ll find a range of toolkits and checklists on data protection hub for small organisations to help you understand and comply with your data protection obligations.

To start a new conversation, you can call our helpline on 0303 123 1113, or for tailored, bite-sized advice and FAQs you can visit ico.org.uk/hub.