[Title 31 CFR 6]
[Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition) - July 1, 2002 Edition]
[Title 31 - MONEY AND FINANCE: TREASURY]
[Part 6 - APPLICATIONS FOR AWARDS UNDER THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


31MONEY AND FINANCE: TREASURY12002-07-012002-07-01falseAPPLICATIONS FOR AWARDS UNDER THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT6PART 6MONEY AND FINANCE: TREASURY
PART 6--APPLICATIONS FOR AWARDS UNDER THE EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE ACT--Table of Contents




                      Subpart A--General Provisions

Sec.
6.1  Purpose of these rules.
6.2  When the Act applies.
6.3  Proceedings covered.
6.4  Eligibility of applicants.
6.5  Standards for awards.
6.6  Allowable fees and other expenses.
6.7  Delegations of authority.

             Subpart B--Information Required From Applicants

6.8  Contents of application.
6.9  Net worth exhibit.
6.10  Documentation of fees and expenses.
6.11  When an application may be filed.

           Subpart C--Procedures for Considering Applications

6.12  Filing and service of documents.
6.13  Answer to application.
6.14  Decision.
6.15  Agency review.
6.16  Judicial review.
6.17  Payment of award.

    Authority: Sec. 203(a)(1), Pub. L. 96-481, 94 Stat. 2325 (5 U.S.C. 
504(c)(1)).

    Source: 47 FR 20765, May 14, 1982, unless otherwise noted.



                      Subpart A--General Provisions



Sec. 6.1  Purpose of these rules.

    The Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. 504 (called ``the Act'' in 
this part), provides for the award of attorney fees and other expenses 
to eligible individuals and entities who are parties to certain 
administrative proceedings (called ``adversary adjudications'') before 
agencies of the Government of the United States. An eligible party may 
receive an award when it prevails over an agency, unless the agency's 
position in the proceeding was substantially justified or special 
circumstances make an award unjust. The rules in this part describe the 
parties eligible for awards and the proceedings that are covered. They 
also explain how to apply for awards, and the procedures and standards 
that the Treasury Department will use to make them.



Sec. 6.2  When the Act applies.

    The Act applies to any adversary adjudication pending before an 
agency at any time between October 1, 1981 and September 30, 1984. This 
includes proceedings begun before October 1, 1981, if final agency 
action has not been taken before that date, and proceedings pending on 
September 30, 1984, regardless of when they were initiated or when final 
agency action occurs.



Sec. 6.3  Proceedings covered.

    The Act applies to adversary adjudications required to be conducted 
by the Treasury Department under 5 U.S.C. 554. Within the Treasury 
Department, these proceedings are:
    (a) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: (1) Permit proceedings 
under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (27 U.S.C. 204); (2) Permit 
proceedings under the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. 5171, 
5271, 5713); (3) License and permit proceedings under the Federal 
Explosives Laws (18 U.S.C. 843).
    (b) Comptroller of the Currency:

All proceedings conducted under 12 CFR part 19, subpart A.



Sec. 6.4  Eligibility of applicants.

    (a) To be eligible for an award of attorney fees and other expenses 
under the Act, the applicant must be a party to the adversary 
adjudication for which it seeks an award. The term ``party'' is defined 
in 5 U.S.C. 551(3). The applicant must show that it meets all conditions 
of eligibility set out in this subpart and has complied with the 
requirements in Subpart B of this part.
    (b) The types of eligible applicants are as follows:
    (1) An individual with a net worth of not more than $1 million;

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    (2) The sole owner of an unincorporated business who has a net worth 
of not more than $5 million, including both personal and business 
interests, and not more than 500 employees;
    (3) A charitable or other tax-exempt organization described in 
section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) 
with not more than 500 employees;
    (4) A cooperative association as defined in section 15(a) of the 
Agricultural Marketing Act (12 U.S.C. 1141(a)) with not more than 500 
employees, or
    (5) Any other partnership, corporation, association, or public or 
private organization with a net worth of not more than $5 million and 
not more than 500 employees.
    (c) For the purpose of eligibility, the net worth and number of 
employees of an applicant shall be determined as of the date the 
proceeding was initiated.
    (d) An applicant who owns an unincorporated business will be 
considered as an ``individual'' rather than a ``sole owner of an 
unincorporated business'' if the matter in controversy is primarily 
related to personal interests rather than to business interests.
    (e) The employees of an applicant include all persons who regularly 
perform services for remuneration for the applicant, under the 
applicant's direction and control. Part-time employees shall be 
included.
    (f) The net worth and number of employees of the applicant and all 
of its affiliates shall be aggregated to determine eligibility. Any 
individual or group of individuals, corporation or other entity that 
directly or indirectly controls or owns a majority of the voting shares 
of another business, or controls in any manner the election of a 
majority of that business's board of directors, trustees, or other 
persons exercising similar functions, will be considered an affiliate of 
that business for purposes of this part, unless the adjudicative officer 
determines that such treatment would be unjust and contrary to the 
purposes of the Act in light of the actual relationship between the 
afffiliated entities. In addition, the adjudicative officer may 
determine that financial relationships of the applicant other than those 
described in this paragraph constitute special circumstances that would 
make an award unjust.
    (g) An applicant that participates in a proceeding primarily on 
behalf of one or more other persons or entities that would be ineligible 
is not itself eligible for an award.



Sec. 6.5  Standards for awards.

    (a) A prevailing applicant may receive an award for fees and 
expenses incurred in connection with the final disposition of a 
proceeding, unless (1) the position of the agency was substantially 
justified, or (2) special circumstances make the award unjust. No 
presumption arises that the agency's position was not substantially 
justified simply because the agency did not prevail.
    (b) An award will be reduced or denied if the applicant has unduly 
or unreasonably protracted the proceeding or if special circumstances 
make the award sought unjust.



Sec. 6.6  Allowable fees and other expenses.

    (a) The following fees and other expenses are allowable under the 
Act:
    (1) Reasonable expenses of expert witnesses;
    (2) Reasonable cost of any study, analysis, engineering report, 
test, or project which the agency finds necessary for the preparation of 
the party's case;
    (3) Reasonable attorney or agent fees.
    (b) The amount of fees awarded will be based upon the prevailing 
market rates for the kind and quality of services furnished, except that
    (1) Compensation for an expert witness will not exceed the highest 
rate paid by the agency for expert witnesses; and
    (2) Attorney or agent fees will not be in excess of $75 per hour.



Sec. 6.7  Delegations of authority.

    The Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the 
Comptroller of the Currency are authorized to take final action on 
matters pertaining to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. 504, in 
proceedings listed in Sec. 6.3 under the respective bureau or office. 
The Secretary of the Treasury may by order delegate authority to

[[Page 127]]

take final action on matters pertaining to the Equal Access to Justice 
Act in particular cases to other subordinate officials.



             Subpart B--Information Required From Applicants



Sec. 6.8  Contents of application.

    (a) An application for an award of fees and expenses under the Act 
shall identify the applicant and the proceeding for which an award is 
sought. The application shall show that the applicant has prevailed and 
identify the position of the agency in the proceeding that the applicant 
alleges was not substantially justified. The application shall state the 
basis for the applicant's belief that the position was not substantially 
justified. Unless the applicant is an individual, the application shall 
also state the number of employees of the applicant and describe briefly 
the type and purpose of its organization or business.
    (b) The application shall also include a statement that the 
applicant's net worth does not exceed $1 million (if an individual) or 
$5 million (for all other applicants, including their affiliates). 
However, an applicant may omit this statement if:
    (1) It attaches a copy of a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service 
that it qualifies as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of 
the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3)) or, in the case of a 
tax-exempt organization not required to obtain a ruling from the 
Internal Revenue Service on its exempt status, a statement that 
describes the basis for the applicant's belief that it qualifies under 
such section; or
    (2) It states that it is a cooperative association as defined in 
section 15(a) of the Agricultural Marketing Act (12 U.S.C. 1141j(a)).
    (c) The application shall itemize the amount of fees and expenses 
for which an award is sought.
    (d) The application may also include any other matters that the 
applicant wishes the agency to consider in determining whether and in 
what amount an award should be made.
    (e) The application shall be signed by the applicant or an 
authorized officer with respect to the eligibility of the applicant and 
by the attorney of the applicant with respect to fees and expenses 
sought. It shall also contain or be accompanied by a written 
verification under oath or under penalty of perjury that the information 
provided in the application is true and correct.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 
1512-0444, for applications filed with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco 
and Firearms)

(5 U.S.C. 552(a) (80 Stat. 383, as amended))

[47 FR 20765, May 14, 1982, as amended at 49 FR 14944, Apr. 16, 1984]



Sec. 6.9  Net worth exhibit.

    (a) Each applicant except a qualified tax-exempt organization, or 
cooperative association must provide with its application a detailed 
exhibit showing the net worth of the applicant and any affiliates (as 
defined in Sec. 6.4(f)) when the proceeding was initiated. In the case 
of national banking associations, ``net worth'' shall be considered to 
be the total capital and surplus as reported, in conformity with the 
applicable instructions and guidelines, on the bank's last Consolidated 
Report of Condition filed before the initiation of the underlying 
proceeding.
    (b) The exhibit may be in any form convenient to the applicant that 
provides full disclosure of the applicant's and its affiliates assets 
and liabilities and is sufficient to determine whether the applicant 
qualifies under the standards in this part. The adjudicative officer may 
require an applicant to file additional information to determine its 
eligibility for an award.



Sec. 6.10  Documentation of fees and expenses.

    (a) The application shall be accompanied by full documentation of 
the fees and expenses, including the cost of any study, engineering 
report, test, or project, for which an award is sought.
    (b) The documentation shall include an affidavit from any attorney, 
agent, or expert witness representing or appearing in behalf of the 
party, stating the actual time expended and the rate at which fees and 
other expenses were computed and describing the specific services 
performed.

[[Page 128]]

    (1) The affidavit shall state the services performed. In order to 
establish the hourly rate, the affidavit shall state the hourly rate 
which is billed and paid by the majority of clients during the relevant 
time periods.
    (2) If not hourly rate is paid by the majority of clients because, 
for instance, the attorney or agent represents most clients on a 
contingency basis, the attorney or agent shall provide information about 
two attorneys or agents with similar experience, who perform similar 
work, stating their hourly rate.
    (c) The documentation shall also include a description of any 
expenses for which reimbursement is sought and a statement of the 
amounts paid and payable by the applicant or by any other person or 
entity for the services provided.
    (d) The adjudicative officer may require the applicant to provide 
vouchers, receipts, or other substantiation for any expenses claimed.



Sec. 6.11  When an application may be filed.

    (a) An application may be filed whenever the applicant has prevailed 
in the proceeding but in no case later than 30 days after the agency's 
final disposition of the proceeding.
    (b) If review or reconsideration is sought or taken of a decision as 
to which an appplicant believes it has prevailed, proceedings for the 
award of fees shall be stayed pending final disposition of the 
underlying controversy.



           Subpart C--Procedures for Considering Applications



Sec. 6.12  Filing and service of documents.

    Any application for an award or other pleading or document related 
to an application shall be filed and served on all parties to the 
proceeding in the same manner as other pleadings in the proceeding.



Sec. 6.13  Answer to application.

    (a) Within 30 days after service of an application, counsel 
representing the agency against which an award is sought shall file an 
answer to the application.
    (b) If agency counsel and the applicant believe that the issues in 
the fee application can be settled, they may jointly file a statement of 
their intent to negotiate a settlement. The filing of this statement 
shall extend the time for filing an answer for an additional 60 days and 
further extensions may be granted by the adjudicative officer upon 
request by agency counsel and the applicant.
    (c) The answer shall explain any objections to the award requested 
and identify the facts relied on in support of agency counsel's 
position. If the answer is based on any alleged facts not already in the 
record of the proceeding, agency counsel shall include with the answer 
supporting affidavits.



Sec. 6.14  Decision.

    The adjudicative officer shall issue an initial decision on the 
application within 60 days after completion of proceedings on the 
application. The decision shall include written findings and conclusions 
on the applicant's eligibility and status as a prevailing party, and an 
explanation of the reasons for any difference between the amount 
requested and the amount awarded. The decision shall also include, if at 
issue, findings on whether the agency's position was substantially 
justified, whether the applicant unduly protracted the proceedings, or 
whether special circumstances make an award unjust.



Sec. 6.15  Agency review.

    Either the applicant or agency counsel may seek review of the 
initial decision on the fee application, or the agency may decide to 
review the decision on its own initiative. If neither the applicant nor 
agency counsel seeks a review and the agncy does not take review on its 
own initiative, the initial decision on the application shall become a 
final decision of the agency 30 days after it is issued. Whether to 
review a decision is a matter within the discretion of the agency. If 
review is taken, the agency will issue a final decision on the 
application or remand the application to the adjudicative officer for 
further proceedings.

[[Page 129]]



Sec. 6.16  Judicial review.

    Judicial review of final agency decisions on awards may be sought as 
provided in 5 U.S.C. 504(c)(2).



Sec. 6.17  Payment of award.

    An applicant seeking payment of an award shall submit to the agency 
a copy of the agency's final decision granting the award, accompanied by 
a statement that the applicant will not seek review of the decision in 
the United States courts. An applicant shall be paid the amount awarded 
unless judicial review of the award or of the underlying decision of the 
adversary adjudication has been sought by the applicant or any other 
party to the proceeding.