[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 121 (Friday, June 22, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 37708-37709]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-15239]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

[NPS-WASO-TPS-9445: 2200-686]


Notice of Intent To Modify Schedule of Fees for Reviewing 
Historic Preservation Certification Applications

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; Request for public comment.

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SUMMARY: This notice alerts the public to proposed changes to the fees 
the National Park Service (NPS) charges for reviewing Historic 
Preservation Certification Applications. The current fees were set in 
1984 and have not been changed since then.

DATES: Written comments will be accepted until July 23, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: 
email: michael_auer@nps.gov; fax: 202-371-1616, Attention: Michael 
Auer Mail: Michael Auer, Technical Preservation Services, National Park 
Service, 1201 ``Eye'' St. NW., Org Code 2200, Washington, DC 20240.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Goeken, Chief, Technical 
Preservation Services, National Park Service, 1849 C St. NW., Org Code 
2255, Washington, DC 20240, or email: brian_goeken@nps.gov, or 
telephone at 202-354-2033.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The NPS charges fees for reviewing certification applications for 
Federal tax incentives contained in Section 47 of the Internal Revenue 
Code (referred to herein as ``Historic Preservation Certification 
Applications''). The fees have not been changed since 1984, despite the 
increased costs to the government of administering the Historic 
Preservation Tax Incentives Program. Current fees do not cover the full 
costs of administering the program.

What is the authority for this action?

    The authority for this action is title V of the Independent Offices 
Appropriations Act (IOAA) of 1952, codified at 31 U.S.C. 9701, which 
authorizes the head of a federal agency to ``prescribe regulations 
establishing the charge for a service or thing of value provided by the 
agency.'' Id. Sec.  9701(b). Each charge must be fair and must be based 
on the costs to the Government, the value of the service or thing to 
the recipient, public policy, and other relevant facts. Id. Sec.  
9701(b)(2); see also OMB Circular A-25 and 36 CFR 67.11(a).

Why is the NPS adjusting fees at this time?

    The fee schedule established in 1984 expressed the fees in fixed 
dollar amounts and did not contain provisions for adjusting the fees 
over time. This method contrasts with the now-standard Government 
practice of establishing and revising fees in periodic Federal Register 
notices, pursuant to the IOAA and OMB Circular A-25. Accordingly, the 
NPS published a final rulemaking, effective June 27, 2011, which stated 
that ``Fees are charged for reviewing certification requests according 
to the schedule and instructions provided in public notices in the 
Federal Register by NPS.'' 36 CFR 67.11(a) (2011). This rule authorizes 
the NPS to make the changes it now proposes.
    In planning to revise fees, the NPS studied its direct and indirect 
costs associated with the review of Historic Preservation Certification 
Applications. The NPS found that the 1984 fee schedule does not cover 
these costs. The current fee schedule therefore fails to meet the IOAA 
objective that agencies such as the NPS establish fees for specific 
services provided to identifiable recipients such that the service 
provided may be ``self-sustaining to the extent possible.'' 31 U.S.C. 
9701(a).
    The NPS also studied application fees charged by State governments 
under similar State historic preservation tax credit programs, as well 
as fees charged

[[Page 37709]]

by local governments for review of development projects. On the basis 
of this comparison, the NPS concluded that its fees were not comparable 
to fees charged by other governmental agencies for similar services.
    Accordingly, the NPS proposes to charge fees for reviewing Historic 
Preservation Certification Applications as set forth in the schedule 
and instructions appearing below. The proposed fees are projected to be 
less than the direct costs of the program, but would be at a higher 
percentage of direct and indirect costs than the 1984 fee structure.

When will the NPS implement the new fee schedule?

    The NPS intends to implement this proposed schedule, and initiate 
collection of the fees set forth herein, as soon as practicable 
following the expiration of a 30-day public comment period following 
this notice's publication in the Federal Register and after the NPS has 
had the opportunity to fully consider any public comments received. The 
NPS will publish in the Federal Register a notice providing the newly 
established fee schedule.

Public Participation

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Fee Schedule Information

    Fees will be charged for reviewing Historic Preservation 
Certification Applications in accordance with the schedule appearing 
below. The NPS will continue to charge part of the overall fee at the 
time the Part 2--Description of Rehabilitation, describing a proposed 
rehabilitation, is received by the NPS and the remainder of the fee 
when the Part 3--Request for Certification of Completed Work is 
received. However, the Part 2 fee will now be one-half of the overall 
fee, rather than the current flat fee of $250. This allocation of the 
fee will better reflect the true cost to the Government of reviewing 
Part 2 applications describing proposed rehabilitations, inasmuch as 
reviewing Part 2 applications and amendments describing proposed 
rehabilitations consumes much more staff time than reviewing the Part 3 
applications for completed work. Additionally, a number of applicants 
never submit a Part 3 describing completed rehabilitation work. In such 
cases, the portion of the review fee represented by the balance of the 
Part 2 work is never recovered by the NPS.
    The 1984 fee schedule set fixed fees of $500, $800, $1,500, and 
$2,500 for projects of $20,000 or more, grouped into four project size 
categories, with $2,500 being the maximum fee for projects $1,000,000 
and above. In contrast, the new fee schedule sets the fee for projects 
$50,000 and above at $800 plus 0.15% (0.0015) of project costs over 
$50,000, with a maximum fee of $6,500 for projects $3,850,000 and 
above. The new schedule thus better reflects that review costs 
generally increase as projects increase in size. The new schedule 
charges no fee for projects under $50,000.
    The new fee schedule applies only to new applications received by 
State Historic Preservation Offices after the effective date of this 
fee schedule. Part 3 applications describing completed work in 
previously reviewed Part 2 applications will be charged according to 
the schedule in effect at the time the Part 2 was reviewed.

Fee Schedule

    Fees will be charged for reviewing certification applications in 
accordance with the schedule below. Applicants should make no payment 
until requested to do so by the NPS. A certification decision will not 
be issued on an application until the appropriate remittance is 
received. Fees are nonrefundable.
    Application review fees (rounded to the nearest dollar) are based 
on the applicant's estimated rehabilitation costs (defined as 
``Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures'' or ``QREs,'' pursuant to 
section 47 of the Internal Revenue Code).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Cost of rehabilitation                        Fee
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                          Current Fee Schedule
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$0-$19,999...............................  $0.
$20,000-$99,999..........................  $500.
$100,000-$499,999........................  $800.
$500,000-$999,999........................  $1,500.
$1,000,000 or more.......................  $2,500.
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                         Proposed Fee Structure
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$0-$49,999...............................  $-0-.
$50,000-$3,849,999.......................  $800 + 0.15% (0.0015) of
                                            rehabilitation costs over
                                            $50,000.
$3,850,000 or more.......................  $6,500.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. The application review fee will, upon request by the NPS, be 
payable one-half upon NPS receipt of a Part 2--Description of 
Rehabilitation, and one-half upon NPS receipt of a Part 3--Request for 
Certification of Completed Work.
    2. If the estimated rehabilitation costs reported on the Part 3 are 
lower than those reported on the Part 2 previously submitted, then the 
Part 3 portion of the application review fee will be based on the costs 
reported on the Part 3. No refund of the Part 2 fee difference--if 
any--will be made.
    3. If the estimated rehabilitation costs reported on the Part 3 
application are higher than those reported on the Part 2 previously 
submitted, then the Part 3 portion of the fee will be 100% of the 
review fee less the Part 2 portion of the fee previously paid.
    4. If Part 2 and Part 3 applications are received at the same time, 
the application review fee will be assessed on the estimated 
rehabilitation costs reported on the Part 3.
    5. For a project involving multiple buildings that were 
functionally related historically pursuant to 36 CFR 67, the 
application review fee will be based on the estimated rehabilitation 
costs of the entire project.
    6. For a phased project pursuant to 36 CFR 67, the application 
review fee will be based on the total estimated rehabilitation costs 
for all phases.
    7. Projects requiring submittal of a new Part 2 application will be 
assessed an application review fee equal to the fee for a new Part 2 
application. No refunds or credits toward the new application will be 
issued for the fees paid for the prior Part 2 application.

    Dated: April 26, 2012.
Jonathan B. Jarvis,
Director, National Park Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-15239 Filed 6-21-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-52-P