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February 18, 2011
In Reply Refer To:
3833/3860 (320) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2011-073
Expires: 09/30/2012
To:                   All State Directors
From:               Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management
Subject:           Procedures for Processing Duplicate Mining Claim or Site Maintenance Fee Payments
Program Area: Mining Law Adjudication.
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) establishes new policy and outlines the proper procedures for processing duplicate maintenance fee payments under 30 U.S.C. § 28f. Additionally, this IM ensures processing consistency between Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state offices.
Policy/Action: The instructions in this IM supersede previous instructions in IM 2004-070, dated December 19, 2003, regarding the processing of duplicate annual maintenance fee payments. When multiple maintenance fee payments are received from more than one claimant for a mining claim or site for the same assessment year, mining law adjudicators will first determine which payment the BLM considers to have satisfied the statutory fee requirements, then process the payment determined to be the duplicate payment as follows: 
  1. If the duplicate maintenance fee payment was timely received or postmarked on or before September 1, the adjudicator will record the payment in the Legacy Rehost System 2000 (LR2000) with action code (AC) 485 – Multiple Payment.[1]  (If the duplicate maintenance fee payment was not timely received, see #4, below.) Through the overnight batch update, this AC will transmit the data to the Collections and Billing System (CBS), and the money will be transferred from the suspense account and earned in the appropriate mining claim-related account. The data standards for AC 485 require entry of the AC related to the reason for the multiple payment in action remarks, followed by a semicolon and the applicable assessment year. For example, if a duplicate maintenance fee payment is received or postmarked on or before September 1, 2011, for the 2012 assessment year, the entry in action remarks for AC 485 will be “682;2012.” In addition, the corresponding receipt number must be entered in the receipt number field.
  2. The adjudicator will send a notice (sample attached) to the remitter, along with a copy of the document submitted with the payment informing the remitter that his/her payment is a duplicate. The notice will state that the remitter should contact the BLM in writing and indicate whether the duplicate payment should be (a) refunded, (b) applied to the next assessment year, or (c) kept for the current assessment year. If the remitter does not contact the BLM, the payment will be kept as a duplicate payment for the current assessment year.
  3. The BLM office receiving the duplicate payment will process the payment in accordance with the remitter’s request. If the remitter requests the payment be applied to the next assessment year, then the mining claim adjudicator will adjust the actions in LR2000 accordingly to show the payment has been applied to the next assessment year. In other words, the previous entry made for AC 485 will be deleted and AC 682 – Maintenance Fee/$140 will be entered with the next assessment year noted in action remarks. Adjudicators are reminded that any time an AC related to money transfers in CBS are deleted out of LR2000, the best practice is to delete the AC one day and then to wait until the next business day before updating LR2000 with the new AC. To explain, when an action is deleted out of LR2000 that relates to a money transfer in CBS, the money will return to a suspense account in the overnight batch. When the adjudicator enters the new AC in LR2000 the next day, the money will be transferred from the suspense account into the appropriate mining claim-related account. If actions are deleted and entered the same day, this may cause an error in the sequence of the transfers between LR2000 and CBS. As a result, the money may not be properly applied to the appropriate mining claim-related account and would appear on the aging analysis report.
  4. If a duplicate maintenance fee payment is not timely received on or before September 1 of any assessment year, and there is no indication from the claimant that the payment has been made for the next assessment year, the duplicate payment cannot be applied toward the current assessment year and must be either returned [2] or refunded [3] to the remitter.
  5. If a claimant inadvertently makes a double maintenance fee payment for a mining claim or site, the attached sample notice should be revised to give the claimant the option of (a) requesting a refund or (b) requesting the payment be applied to the next assessment year. Under these circumstances, the BLM should not be earning more than a single maintenance fee payment for the claim or site, and if the claimant does not respond within the 30 days, the adjudicator will automatically process the duplicate payment for a refund. To monitor the response time given the claimant, the adjudicator will enter AC 247 – Future Action Suspense in LR2000, using an action date 45 days from the day the adjudicator sends the notice. AC 247 will be removed when the adjudicator receives a response from the claimant or if the refund is processed because no response was received.
  6. All notices will be sent as a courtesy and do not need to be sent by certified mail—return receipt requested. 
  7. This IM applies only to the processing of duplicate maintenance fee payments. Payments received with duplicate filings under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) (assessment work or notices of intent to hold) will be processed in accordance with current procedures. The payments received with FLPMA documents are non-refundable processing fees and will be applied to the appropriate mining claim-related account. 
Timeframe: This policy is effective immediately.
Budget Impact: None.
Background: IM 2004-070, issued December 19, 2003, previously outlined the procedures for processing duplicate maintenance fee payments. At that time, mining law adjudicators were instructed that when a duplicate payment was received, they were to contact all claimants associated with the mining claim or site to ask how the duplicate payment should be processed. This procedure created the possibility of putting the BLM office at risk of either becoming an unknowing party to an ongoing dispute between the claimants, or actually creating a situation that might cause a conflict between claimants. By asking all claimants how the overpayment should be processed, the BLM was giving a claimant other than the remitter the opportunity to instruct the BLM to return the remitter’s payment, possibly creating a conflict between the claimants. The instructions in this IM offer the remitter the opportunity to direct the overpayment according to the remitter’s preference and not the preference of a possible rival claimant.
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 Solicitor’s Office and the Division of Solid Minerals (WO-320).

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]No action code exists in the Alaska Case Retrieval Enterprise System (ACRES) for multiple payments.   Alaska has their own operating procedures pertaining to payments received through the Collections and Billings System (CBS) and will, therefore, not be required to follow the procedures outlined in this Instruction Memorandum. All maintenance fee payments are recorded in ACRES with the Financial Code 902 – Claim Maintenance Fee.
[2]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.
[3]If the remittance is deposited, then the adjudicator will need to authorize a refund in CBS and inform the remitter why the payment is not acceptable and when to expect the refund..

Last updated: 02-24-2011