U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
http://www.blm.gov
August 29, 2011
In Reply Refer To:
3830 (320) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 08/31/2011
Instruction Memorandum No. 2011-176
Expires:  09/30/2012
 
To:                   All State Directors (Except AK)
                        Attn:  Mining Law Adjudication and CBS Accounting Technicians
 
From:               Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management
 
Subject:           Procedures for Earning Nonrefundable Mining Law Processing Fees
 
Program Area:  Mining Law Administration.
 
Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) outlines procedures for earning nonrefundable Mining Law processing fees when documents submitted with those processing fees cannot be processed or recorded and are returned to the remitter or mining claimant unrecorded.
 
Policy/Action:  To ensure that nonrefundable processing fees are properly earned when a Mining Law supplemental document is unacceptable and returned unrecorded, three new Commodity, Subject, and Actions (CSA) in the Collections and Billings System (CBS) and a new action code in the Legacy Rehost 2000 (LR2000) system were created specifically to be used in the process to earn the fees.
 
In conjunction with the CBS personnel in their states, some Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Office Mining Law Adjudication teams have established procedures to recognize supplemental documents that are not suitable for recording and return those documents and processing fees to the mining claimant or remitter without formal adjudication. This is an acceptable policy as long as no adjudication of the document has been completed.  For instance, a document received on a closed case or without a BLM serial number can be returned directly by CBS personnel if those are the instituted office procedures within the state. However, once a document is distributed to Mining Law adjudication for processing, the nonrefundable processing fee will always be earned whether the document is actually acceptable for recordation or not. 

Accordingly, the following procedures are to be followed when returning documents unrecorded to mining claimants or remitters: 

1.      Supplemental document and processing fee received, identified with a BLM serial number, on a closed case. When a supplemental document, identified with a BLM serial number, is received with the processing fee, and CBS personnel discover the claim is closed, CBS personnel will either: 

a.       Return the document and payment to the remitter without further processing, notifying the remitter the claim is closed, if as stated above, this is an approved and instituted procedure in the state; or 

b.      Receipt the payment to suspense in CBS[1] and forward the supplemental document to the Mining Law Adjudication Team, along with a copy of the CBS receipt and a CBS Instruction Request (Attachment 1), requesting processing instructions.  No authorization number (serial number) is required when receipting the payment to this suspense account.  
When a Mining Law adjudicator receives the CBS Instruction Request, supplemental document, and copy of the remittance from CBS personnel, the adjudicator will perform a search in LR2000 to determine if the mining claim has been relocated (refiled).  Based on the results of the search in LR2000, the adjudicator will instruct CBS personnel to take one of the following actions: 
a.       If the mining claim has not been relocated, the adjudicator will return the Instruction Request to CBS personnel with instructions to return the supplemental document to the mining claimant/remitter unrecorded due to the fact the case is closed and the mining claim has not been refiled.  The claimant should also be informed the processing fee is nonrefundable.  The adjudicator will also instruct CBS personnel to earn the nonrefundable processing fee.  Based on these instructions, CBS personnel will return the document to the mining claimant/remitter and then transfer the payment in CBS from suspense to the applicable CSA.[2] 
b.      If the adjudicator finds the mining claim has been relocated and there is a new BLM serial number, the adjudicator will return the Instruction Request to the CBS personnel with instructions to transfer the payment in CBS from suspense to the applicable CSA and process the supplemental document and fee according to established procedures using the new serial number for the relocated claim. 
2.      Supplemental document and fee received without a BLM serial number: When a mining claim supplemental document is received with a nonrefundable processing fee and a BLM serial number has not been provided, CBS personnel will either: 
a.       Return the document and payment to the mining claimant/remitter without further processing, notifying the claimant/remitter they need to provide a BLM serial number, if as stated above this is an approved and instituted procedure in the state; or 
b.      Receipt the payment to suspense in CBS1 and forward the supplemental document to the Mining Claim Adjudication Team, along with a copy of the CBS receipt and a CBS Instruction Request (Attachment 1), requesting processing instructions.  
When a mining law adjudicator receives the CBS Instruction Request, supplemental document, and copy of the remittance from the CBS personnel, the adjudicator will perform a search in LR2000 to determine if the claim has been recorded with the BLM. Based on the results of the search in LR2000, the adjudicator will instruct CBS personnel to take one of the following actions: 
a.       If the claim has not been recorded with the BLM, the adjudicator will return the Instruction Request to CBS personnel with instructions to return the supplemental document to the claimant/remitter unrecorded. The claimant should also be informed the processing fee is nonrefundable. The adjudicator will also instruct CBS personnel to earn the processing fee as a nonrefundable processing fee.  Based on these instructions, CBS personnel will return the document to the claimant/remitter and then transfer the payment in CBS from suspense to the applicable CSA.2 
b.      If the adjudicator is able to identify the mining claim by serial number, the adjudicator will return the Instruction Request to CBS personnel with instructions to transfer the payment in CBS from suspense to the applicable CSA and process the supplemental document and fee according to established procedures, using the applicable serial number provided by the adjudicator. 
3.      Document unacceptable for recording. If the Mining Law Adjudication Team receives a supplemental document with a CBS receipt through normal operating procedures for an active mining claim or site, and during adjudication the document is determined to be unacceptable for recording with the BLM, the Mining Law adjudicator will return the document to the claimant unrecorded and earn the nonrefundable processing fee. However, instead of having to manually inform the CBS technician to earn the fee, the adjudicator will now earn the fee by updating LR2000 with Action Code (AC) 398 – DOC RETURN UNRECORDED.  By adding AC 398 to LR2000, the processing fee will be earned to the proper Mining Law account during the nightly CBS/LR2000 interface. Additionally, the related entry in LR2000 that was generated through the CBS/LR2000 interface when the supplemental document and fee were received (AC 392 – MONIES RECEIVED) will programmatically delete when all the processing fees for that document are accounted for in CBS.  
 
4.      LR2000 data entry for documents returned unrecorded. To make certain the nonrefundable fees are all accounted for in CBS, the Mining Law adjudicator must pay strict attention to the data standards for AC 398. The action date will be the date the supplemental document is returned to the claimant. When entering AC 398, the adjudicator will also add the dollar amount of the fee in action remarks, followed by a semicolon and the associated LR2000 AC related to the type of document being returned. For example, if a quitclaim deed is received that transfers interest in one mining claim to four claimants, a processing fee of $40 should have been received ($10 per claimant per claim or site). If the quitclaim deed is returned unrecorded, the entry in LR2000 will be as follows:
 
Date (mm/dd/yyyy)
Code
Action Taken
Action Remark
Receipt Nr
03/01/2011         
398
DOC RETURNED UNRECORDED           
$40;396
1937479
If a quitclaim deed is received that transfers interest in five claims to one claimant, a non-refundable processing fee of $50 should have been received. In this case, if the document is returned unrecorded, the adjudicator will make the following entry in LR2000 for each claim associated with the document:
Date (mm/dd/yyyy)
Code
Action Taken
Action Remark
Receipt Nr
03/01/2011         
398
DOC RETURNED UNRECORDED           
$10;396
1937479
Note that even though a $50 fee was received, only “$10;” is entered in action remarks; however, this entry will be made on five different cases. Since the total amount of the entries equals $50, the full $50 will be earned to the proper mining law account. The format for the dollar amount will always be entered as shown, without any punctuation (i.e., no periods or commas) and will always end with a semicolon.  The receipt number must always be used.  Additionally, to ensure consistency, adjudicators will always use an AC to represent the type of document being returned.  As in the examples above, AC 396 is used to represent a transfer. An amendment returned unrecorded would be represented by adding AC 635 after the semicolon. All approved ACs can be found in the Corporate Metadata Repository.  
Timeframe:   This policy is effective immediately.
 
Budget Impact:  None.
 
Background:  The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and the BLM cost recovery regulations allow fees to be established for the processing of applications and documents related to the use of the public lands. In accordance with 43 CFR 3000.10(b) and 3000.12(a), these fixed fees are nonrefundable and will be earned as a service charge even if an application or document is not approved or it is withdrawn by the applicant. Previously, there has never been an actual procedure for earning processing fees when a document was not acceptable and was returned unrecorded. Some offices have created internal and informal methods of earning the fees; however, since there was never any specific action created in CBS for earning processing fees when the document is returned unrecorded, adjudicators and CBS personnel were never quite certain which account to use to earn the fees. Therefore, at times offices have either just returned [3] or even refunded [4] the fees.
 
Three new actions have been created in CBS and a new action code created in LR2000 which will make it more efficient to earn nonrefundable processing fees.  The instructions in this IM will clarify the process and will help to make certain the nonrefundable processing fee is always earned when a mining law adjudicator processes a supplemental document, even when that document is returned to the claimant unrecorded. 
 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected:  The policy contained in this IM will be incorporated into H-3830-1, Administration of Mining Claims.
 
Coordination:  This IM was coordinated through the Division of Solid Minerals (WO-320) and the National Operations Center Collections and Billings Section (OC-621).
 
Contact:  If you have any questions concerning this IM, please contact me at 202-208-4201, or your staff may contact Mitchell Leverette, Chief, Division of Solid Minerals, at 202-912-7113, email address Mitchell_Leverette@blm.gov, or Sonia Santillan at 202-912-7123, email address Sonia_Santillan@blm.gov.
 
 
Signed by:                                                                 Authenticated by:
Michael Nedd                                                             Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                                      Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Minerals and Realty Management
 
 
 
1 Attachment
[1]The Commodity, Subject, and Action (CSA) is: Commodity = Locatable Minerals; Subject = Locatable Minerals-Suspense; and Action = Pending Adjudication-One Week Only.
[2]Commodity = Locatable Minerals; Subject = Mining Claims Earned & Adjud Transfers Only; and Action = Nonrefundable Processing Fee No Authno.
[3]If the CBS technician does not immediately process the payment for deposit, the actual payment (e.g., personal check, money order, cashier’s check) can be returned with an explanation why it is not acceptable.
[4]If the remittance is deposited, then the adjudicator authorizes a refund in CBS and informs the remitter why the refund has been authorized and when to expect the refund. Nonrefundable processing fees should never be refunded unless an overpayment is received.

 
Last updated: 08-31-2011