1.05: Late Filing Fees

5 U.S.C. app. § 104(d); 5 C.F.R. § 2634.704

An official who files any public financial disclosure report more than 30 days after the due date or more than 30 days after the last day of an extension, whichever occurs later, must pay the United States a $200 late filing fee.  The “date of filing” is the date that the agency receives the report.  The fee becomes due only when the report is actually filed.  If the employee refuses to file, see the “Failure to File and Falsification Penalties” section.

Delegation of Collection Responsibilities

OGE has delegated to agencies the responsibility to collect late filing fees. 

Notice of Late Filing Fee

For reports that are more than 30 days overdue, an agency must provide the delinquent filer with written notice that the filer:

  • will owe the United States a $200 late filing fee upon filing that is subject to agency debt collection procedures if not paid; and
  • must remit the full fee to the agency, payable to the “United States Treasury;” but
  • may submit a written request to the agency that the fee be waived due to “extraordinary circumstances.”

Collection of the Late Filing Fee

If successful in collecting a late filing fee, the agency must forward it to the United States Treasury for deposit as miscellaneous receipts.  Ethics officials should defer to their agency finance office for appropriate handling of fees collected.

If unsuccessful in collecting the late filing fee, the agency should institute debt collection procedures, such as salary or administrative offset.  In addition, an agency may take appropriate disciplinary action.

Waiver of the Late Filing Fee

OGE has delegated its authority to waive the late filing fee to agencies.  The fee may be waived if the delay in filing was caused by extraordinary circumstances.

Extraordinary circumstances may include the agency’s failure to notify a New Entrant filer, first-time Annual filer, or Termination filer of the requirement to file the public financial disclosure report.  Other circumstances that OGE views as extraordinary are:

  • a family emergency, such as a fire, an illness, or a death;
  • transfer of position causing confusion over filing;
  • agency errors (other than notification errors); and
  • the duties of a filer’s office (only agency emergencies).

In determining whether circumstances are extraordinary, other factors to consider include:

  • the position of the filer (a filer might be held to a higher standard because the filer is an agency head or in a similar position);
  • whether the filer requested any extensions, indicating a good faith effort to file; and
  • the timeliness of the filer’s previous reports.

Employees who have previously filed Annual public reports should be aware of the next year’s annual filing requirement.  In the absence of other extraordinary circumstances, an agency should not waive the late filing fee based on the failure of an ethics official to remind an experienced filer to submit the OGE Form 278e.  Nor should the agency waive the late fee for any employee who was mistaken about the due date, unless the agency contributed to that misunderstanding.

Since the statute allows a 30-day grace period after the due date before late filing fees apply, filers should ensure that the agency receives their reports by the end of that period.  Accordingly, administrative or postal delays at the end of the grace period alone do not constitute an extraordinary circumstance.