Introducing EPCRA Reporting Fees Can Helps Fund Emergency Planning Platform
To fund SERC and LEPC activities required under EPCRA, many States or Local Governments have established or are considering implementing reporting fees. There are some factors to take into account when structuring a fee program.
1. Define the Fee Structure: The fee structure may be a flat fee per facility, a fee per chemical, or both. Fees can be based on the type or hazard of the chemical, or the amount. The fee can be per facility, or based on multiple sites belonging to the same company. There can be exemptions for certain facilities or chemical substances. And there can be a cap on the total fee due, which can be implemented per individual facility or per company if they have multiple reporting sites. There are numerous possible structures. Hazconnect builds in your program’s fee structure so that fees are automatically calculated based on the chemical inventory, facility and chemical fee exemption rules, and any other applicable fee rules.
2. Identify How Invoices will be Calculated: Invoice could be calculated by the SERC or LEPC based on information in facility submittals, with invoices provided to the facility for payment by a specified due date. Or they could be calculated by the facility, and submitted with the reports by the due date for the report. Considerations are required for situations such as revised reports, as well as penalties for late fees. Hazconnect automatically generates invoices as part of the report submission process without any Business or Administrator intervention, saving hundreds of hours of work!
3. Identify and Design Acceptable Payment Methods: Payment methods include Credit Card, ECheck or paper checks by mail. Some locations require all payments to be made online electronically by Credit Card or Echeck, which are automatically posted to facility billing accounts. Hazconnect also has built-in features for administrators to record paper checks. Hazconnect can integrate with your online payment provider and provides an automated way to collect payments without administrator intervention, saving hundreds of hours of work!
4. Have a System to Manage Invoices and Payments:
Invoices must be managed and payments tracked. Completed payments must be documented, and overdue balances identified for follow-up. Errors in payment must be addressed and corrected, including “bounced” payments. A variety of correspondence with the reporting facilities is required, from notification of payment received, to notice of overdue balance. A process for linking invoices and payments between the EPCRA program and your accounting department may need to be established for cross-checking. Hazconnect has a robust billing module to handle invoices, payments, online payment, adjustments, late fees, invoice follow-ups, delinquent correspondence, combined statements, reconciliation, and billing reports.
5. Produce Billing Reports to Share with Revenue Department and Facility Follow-up: Fees funds collected annually are typically overseen by a state agency involved in the SERC, or a SERC Committee created for managing SERC finances and disbursements. It is imperative to have capabilities in place for accurately tracking and updating the total annual fees due based on reports received, total amount collected, and additional amounts expected based on outstanding balances. In addition, it is necessary to evaluate this information across years to identify trends for financial planning. This information is needed for budgeting decisions and determining allocations. Hazconnect offers a dozen billing reports to help you manage EPCRA Fees for stakeholders.