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(1) Pursuant to 17-2-302 , MCA, state programs that charge a fee for services are generally not permitted to let their cash balance exceed twice the program's annual appropriation. However, despite the best projections of the board, there may be times when cash balances exceed the amount authorized by statute. This rule is intended to provide a process for when the board needs to reduce its cash balance with a standard methodology to do so, in fair and equitable manner. This rule provides for an abatement of certain fees when the board's cash balance is excessive.

(2) Except as provided by (3), when the board has an excessive cash balance, the department may abate the renewal fees for the board's licensees or registrants for one or more renewal cycles until the board's cash balance does not exceed the allowable maximum.

(a) The abatement of renewal fees may be the total amount of the renewal fee, or only a specified portion of the renewal fee.

(b) If the board has more than one category of renewals, the abatement must be made on a roughly proportional basis to fairly, equitably, reasonably and economically distribute the abatement among the program's licensees or registrants. The department may, for good cause, completely abate the renewal fee for certain classes of licensees or registrants and not for other classes, if the administrative cost of processing a reduced renewal fee for all classes is disproportionately high. In such a case, the department must attempt in any future abatements to equitably treat those classes of renewals which have borne a relatively higher proportion of renewal fees.

(c) The fact that the renewal fee is abated for any given renewal cycle does not excuse the licensee or registrant from otherwise fulfilling the renewal requirements, including submission of a renewal application and/or continuing education documentation. The board, to the extent it so provides by rule, may impose a late fee on untimely submissions of renewal applications or other required documentation.

(3) This rule does not apply when an exception to 17-2-302 , MCA, exists and is applicable to the board's cash balance. As an example, if the board adopts a three-year renewal cycle, the board will have an apparent excess cash balance during the first year of the renewal cycle, based on a collection of three year's worth of fees for operations expenses.

(4) This rule does not relieve the board from the duty to establish fees at a level commensurate with costs.

History: 37-1-131, 37-14-202, MCA; IMP, 17-2-302, 17-2-303, 37-1-134, MCA; NEW, 2003 MAR p. 1882, Eff. 8/29/03; TRANS, from Commerce, 2004 MAR p. 3033; AMD, 2005 MAR p. 2465, Eff. 12/9/05.

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