There are three different tiers of fee and controllers are expected to pay between £40 and £2,900. The fees are set by Parliament to reflect what it believes is appropriate based on the risks posed by the processing of personal data by controllers.
The tier you fall into depends on:
- how many members of staff you have;
- your annual turnover;
- whether you are a public authority;
- whether you are a charity; or
- whether you are a small occupational pension scheme.
Not all controllers must pay a fee. Many can rely on an exemption.
Tier 1 – micro organisations
You have a maximum turnover of £632,000 for your financial year or no more than 10 members of staff. The fee for tier 1 is £40.
Tier 2 – small and medium organisations
You have a maximum turnover of £36 million for your financial year or no more than 250 members of staff. The fee for tier 2 is £60.
Tier 3 – large organisations
If you do not meet the criteria for tier 1 or tier 2, you have to pay the tier 3 fee of £2,900. We regard all controllers as eligible to pay a fee in tier 3 unless and until they tell us otherwise.
Working out your data protection fee
Calculating members of staff
For the purpose of working out the fee, ‘members of staff’ is defined broadly to include all your employees, workers, office holders and partners. Your number of members of staff is the average number working for you during your financial year. Each part-time staff member is counted as one member of staff.
So you should:
- work out, for each completed month of your financial year, the total number who were members of staff in that month;
- add together the monthly totals; and
- divide it by the number of months in your financial year.
It doesn’t matter if your members of staff are based in the UK, overseas or a mixture of both. They all count.
The 2018 Regulations make certain exceptions for some controllers.
- Public authorities should categorise themselves according to staff numbers only. They do not need to take turnover into account.
- Charities that are not otherwise subject to an exemption will only be liable to pay the tier 1 fee, regardless of size or turnover.
- Small occupational pension schemes that are not otherwise subject to an exemption will only be liable to pay the tier 1 fee, regardless of size or turnover.
We have published an online fee self-assessment to help you work out which fee applies to you.
Direct debit discount
If you choose to pay your fee by direct debit, you will receive an automatic discount of £5 at the point of payment.