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Confused About Data Protection Letters From The ICO?

5 March 2020
Gavin Hooker
Accounting & Compliance

Have you received a letter from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and are rather confused?

If the answer to the above is yes, you are not alone! Thousands of small business owners and landlords do not know if they need to pay the fee that the government letters are demanding – but there is no need to panic!

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently launched a campaign that meant they contacted all registered companies in the UK to “remind” them of their legal responsibilities to pay the fee if required.

We believe that the majority of normal trading businesses would need to pay the fee unless they can demonstrate that they do not process any personal data of an individual – a name and address count as personal data!

There are exemptions available but these are quite obscure and can be found here. If your business is not using technology then you wouldn’t have to pay the fee – although an email address where you can identify a person’s name, does count as personal data!

So, it is extremely difficult to say that the data protection laws do not apply to your business. If you want to be 100% sure of the matter, then you can take the ICO’s self-assessment test.

TAKE THE SELF-ASSESSMENT TEST

If I do need to pay the fee, how much is it?

There are different levels of fee depending on the size of your business:

  • Tier 1 – micro organisations (£40 fee): maximum turnover of £632,000 with no more than 10 members of staff
  • Tier 2 – small and medium organisations (£60 fee): maximum turnover of £36 million and no more than £250 members of staff
  • Tier 3 – large organisations (£2,900 fee): if you do not fit into the criteria Tier 1 or Tier 2, then you are regarded as Tier 3

A word of caution, the ICO considers Tier 3 the default unless and until you tell them otherwise!

If you do not pay the fee, there is a penalty fine of up to £4,350 – so definitely check your position.

A bit of good news – if you pay the fee by Direct Debit you can get a £5 discount!

Ok, so I’ve completed the checker and I need to pay a fee, what do I do?

You can make a payment through the ICO website and even download a Direct Debit form – details can be found here.

The content in this blog is correct as at 05/03/2020. See terms and conditions.

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