VQIP User Fees
Section 743 of the FD&C Act requires that each importer participating in VQIP pay a fee to cover FDA’s costs of administering the program. This fee represents the estimated average cost of the work FDA performs in reviewing and evaluating a VQIP importer. At this time, FDA is not offering an adjusted fee for small businesses. As required by section 743(b)(2)(B)(iii) of the FD&C Act, FDA previously published a set of guidelines in consideration of the burden of the VQIP fee on small businesses and provided for a period of public comment on the guidelines (80 FR 32136, June 5, 2015). While we did receive some comments in response, they did not address the questions posed, i.e., how a small business fee reduction should be structured, what percentage of fee reduction would be appropriate, or what alternative structures FDA might consider in order to indirectly reduce fees for small businesses by charging different fee amounts to different VQIP participants. We plan on monitoring costs and collecting data to determine if, in future fiscal years, we will provide for a small business fee reduction. Consistent with section 743(b)(2)(B)(iii), we will adjust the fee schedule for small businesses only through notice and comment rulemaking.
The fee is based on the fully supported FTE hourly rates and estimates of the number of hours it would take FDA to perform relevant activities. These estimates represent FDA’s current thinking, and as the program evolves, FDA will reconsider the estimated hours. We estimate that it would take, on average, 39 person-hours to review a VQIP application (including communication provided through the VQIP Importer’s Help Desk), 16 person-hours for an onsite performance evaluation of a domestic VQIP importer (including travel and other steps necessary for a fully supported FTE to complete and document an onsite assessment), and 34 person-hours for an onsite performance evaluation of a foreign VQIP importer (including travel and other steps necessary for a fully supported FTE to complete and document an onsite assessment). Additional costs include maintenance costs of information technology of administering benefits of the program. These costs are estimated to be $2,209 per VQIP importer.
FDA employees are likely to review applications from their worksites, so we use the fully supported FTE hourly rate excluding travel, $240/hour, to calculate the portion of the user fee attributable to those activities: $240/hour × (39 hours) = $9,360.
FDA employees will conduct a VQIP inspection to verify the eligibility criteria and full implementation of the food safety and food defense systems established in the Quality Assurance Program. A VQIP importer may be located inside or outside of the United States. We have used an estimate that up to 20 percent of VQIP importers may be located outside of the United States.
FDA employees are likely to prepare for and report on the performance evaluation of a domestic VQIP importer at an FTE’s worksite, so we use the fully supported FTE hourly rate excluding travel, $240/hour, to calculate the portion of the user fee attributable to those activities: $240/hour × (8 hours) = $1,920. For the portion of the fee covering onsite evaluation of a domestic VQIP importer, we use the fully supported FTE hourly rate for work requiring domestic travel, $258/hour, to calculate the portion of the user fee attributable to those activities: $258/hour × 8 hours (i.e., one fully supported FTE × (1 day onsite × 8 hours)) = $2,064. Therefore, the total cost of conducting the domestic performance evaluation of a VQIP importer is determined to be $2,064 + $1,920 = $3,984.
Coordination of the onsite performance evaluation of a foreign VQIP importer is estimated to take place at an FTE’s worksite, so we use the fully supported FTE hourly rate excluding travel, $240/hour, to calculate the portion of the user fee attributable to those activities: $240/hour × (10 hours) = $2,400. For the portion of the fee covering onsite evaluation of a foreign VQIP importer, we use the fully supported FTE hourly rate for work requiring foreign travel, $301/hour, to calculate the portion of the user fee attributable to those activities: $301/hour × 24 hours (i.e., one fully supported FTE × ((2 travel days × 8 hours) + (1 day onsite × 8 hours))) = $7,224. Therefore, the total cost of conducting the foreign performance evaluation of a VQIP importer is determined to be $2,400 + $7,224 = $9,624.
Therefore, the estimated average cost of the work FDA performs in total for approving an application for a VQIP importer based on these figures would be $2,209 + $9,360 + ($3,984 × 0.8) + ($9,624 × 0.2) = $16,681.
|Fee category||Fee rates for FY 2020|
|VQIP User Fee||$16,681|
How must the fee be paid?
An invoice will be sent to VQIP importers approved to participate in the program. Payment must be made prior to October 1, 2019, in order to be eligible for VQIP participation for the benefit year beginning October 1, 2019. FDA will not refund the VQIP user fee for any reason.
The payment must be made in U.S. currency from a U.S. bank by one of the following methods: Wire transfer, electronically, check, bank draft, or U.S. postal money order made payable to the Food and Drug Administration. The preferred payment method is online using an electronic check (Automated Clearing House (ACH), also known as eCheck) or credit card (Discover, VISA, MasterCard, American Express). Secure electronic payments can be submitted using the User Fees Payment Portal at https://userfees.fda.gov/pay or the Pay.gov payment option, which is available to you after you submit a cover sheet. (Note: Only full payments are accepted. No partial payments can be made online.) Once you have found your invoice, select “Pay Now” to be redirected to Pay.gov. Electronic payment options are based on the balance due. Payment by credit card is available only for balances less than $25,000. If the balance exceeds this amount, only the ACH option is available. Payments must be made using U.S. bank accounts as well as U.S. credit cards.
When paying by check, bank draft, or U.S. postal money order, please include the invoice number. Also write the FDA post office box number (P.O. Box 979108) on the enclosed check, bank draft, or money order. Mail the payment and a copy of the invoice to: Food and Drug Administration, P.O. Box 979108, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000.
When paying by wire transfer, it is required that the invoice number is included; without the invoice number the payment may not be applied. The originating financial institution may charge a wire transfer fee. If the financial institution charges a wire transfer fee, it is required to add that amount to the payment to ensure that the invoice is paid in full. For international wire transfers, please inquire with the financial institutions prior to submitting the payment. Use the following account information when sending a wire transfer: U.S. Department of the Treasury, TREAS NYC, 33 Liberty St., New York, NY 10045, Account Name: Food and Drug Administration, Account No.: 75060099, Routing No.: 021030004, Swift No.: FRNYUS33.Start Printed Page 35683
To send a check by a courier such as Federal Express, the courier must deliver the check and printed copy of the cover sheet to: U.S. Bank, Attn: Government Lockbox 979108, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101. (Note: This address is for courier delivery only. If you have any questions concerning courier delivery, contact U.S. Bank at 314-418-4013. This phone number is only for questions about courier delivery.)
The tax identification number of FDA is 53-0196965. (Note: In no case should the payment for the fee be submitted to FDA with the invoice.)
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration