The SEC updates filing fee disclosures, payment methods and electronic filing requirements

By Samuel Gehebe, Baker Tilly

On Oct. 13, 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to modernize filing fee disclosures and payment methods (SEC Release No. 2021-209) which are generally effective Jan. 31, 2022. The goal is to revise most fee-bearing forms, schedules and related rules to require entities to include all necessary information for the filing fee calculation in a structured format. Amendments that add the options for filing fee payments via Automated Clearing House (ACH) and debit/credit cards as well as eliminate the option for filing fee payments through paper check and money orders will be effective May 31, 2022.

The SEC intends for these amendments to improve filing fee preparation and payment processing. The amendments will enhance validation through filing fee structures and lower-cost, easily routable payments.

On Nov. 4, 2021, the SEC also published proposed amendments to update electronic filing requirements (SEC Release No. 2021-223). The SEC currently permits certain forms to be filed or submitted electronically. This proposal will be published on the SEC website and in the Federal Register with the public comment period remaining open for 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. If adopted in the current format, the proposed amendment would require various forms noted on the SEC website to be filed or submitted electronically. It will also make technical amendments to various forms on the SEC website to require structured data reporting and remove outdated references.

The SEC’s intention for these proposed amendments is to promote efficiency, transparency and operational resiliency through modernizing the way required filings are submitted to the SEC and disclosed. The proposed amendments should also make publicly filed electronic submissions more readily accessible to the public.

Baker Tilly’s assessment

The amendment and proposed amendment discussed above are intended to modernize various filing requirements and processes. The modernization should simplify for companies how to file and submit required files as well as make it easier for companies to pay required filing fees. These small steps can lead to efficiencies that simplify the processes.