Effective May 1, 2018, it will cost $350 to file a bid protest at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In 2014, Congress directed the GAO to implement an electronic filing and document dissemination system for bid protests. It also authorized the GAO to charge a fee for filing a bid protest. In response to Congress’ direction, the GAO developed the Electronic Protest Documenting System (EPDS). The fee is designed to cover the costs of developing and operating the EPDS, and is subject to review in two years.

For the first time in 80 years of hearing bid protests, the GAO will now charge all companies that file a bid protest a $350 filing fee. There is no reduced fee for small businesses. The fee is a one-time fee; there are no additional fees for filing supplemental protests, requests for reconsideration or requests for recommendation associated with the protest.

So be prepared. Starting next week, on May 1, all bid protests (other than those involving classified information), must be filed through EPDS and the $350 fee must be paid at the time of filing.