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Posted Date: September 22, 2011
Last Updated: November 30, 2011

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The amended Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. §552) (FOIA) allows agencies to charge certain fees in connection with the processing of FOIA requests. Though every agency has its own FOIA regulations that address FOIA fees, there is a uniform fee schedule and guidelines published by the Office of Management and Budget (available at 52 Federal Register 10,012) that applies to all agencies.

Many agencies send FOIA fee estimates to requesters in response to requests. This not only gives the requester an idea of how much it will cost to fulfill his or her request, but also gives the requester an opportunity to narrow the scope of the request to lower the costs. Providing a breakdown of the fee estimate is an OGIS FOIA best practice, and OGIS encourages all agencies to provide this information in fee estimate letters.