Registrants can avoid paying the administrative charge if prior to the start of the SME verification process they voluntarily declare a mistake in their company size. Under both the REACH and CLP Regulations, small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) benefit from fee reductions depending on their size as a medium, small or micro-sized enterprise. A company’s qualification as an SME is determined by the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC. The headcount and financial figures of the legal entity as well as those of partner and linked enterprises are determinant in this regard. Only Representatives (ORs) should be aware that the assessment of whether the fee reduction for SMEs applies will not be based on their figures but on the figures of the non-EU enterprise that is represented by that OR, including information of linked and partner enterprises. To ensure fair competition and the equal treatment of all registrants, and in accordance with the REACH Fee Regulation (EC) No 340/2008, ECHA has started in 2010 to verify the size category of the companies that have claimed to be eligible for SME fee reductions and subsequently have paid reduced fees. If, as a result of the SME verification procedure, the registrant fails to provide ECHA with sufficient documentary evidence on the SME size category that they declared at the time of the submission(s), the registrant will then be charged the balance of the fee applicable for the correct company size. An administrative charge will also be levied as defined in the Management Board decision on the classification of services (MB/D/29/2010), which is based on the REACH Fee Regulation. However, the administrative charge will not be levied if the registrants that initially claimed to be entitled to SME fee reductions have prior to the initiation of the verification procedure by ECHA and on their own initiative, declared their error when submitting the actual size category at the time of their submission(s) in writing to the Agency. This declaration is to be done via the Helpdesk webform, as described on the SME web pages on ECHA’s website. The registrant will then receive the invoice for the difference up to the correct fee level. Updating the company profile only in REACH-IT will not suffice to avoid the administrative charge. The results of the last year’s verifications show that a high proportion of the examined companies did not qualify for the SME fee reductions. Companies are therefore invited, once again, to check the company size category they have declared when submitting their registration(s). Once a registrant has been contacted by ECHA to verify the declared SME status, it is no longer possible to avoid the administrative charge if they made a mistake in their company size category. Later this year, ECHA will host a webinar on the definition of SMEs and its implications under REACH and CLP. More information will be available on the webinar section of the ECHA website in the near future.
European Chemicals Agency, 21 February 2012 ;http://echa.europa.eu ;