Overview of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

     The 1995 Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) took effect on October 1, 1995, superseding the PRA of 1980, as amended in 1986. In response to the new requirements of the 1995 PRA, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a final rule on August 29, 1995 (60 FR 44978) that changed the order and structure of OMB's previous implementing regulations in order to clarify Federal agency and OMB responsibilities and to elaborate upon the various requirements of the 1995 PRA. 

     The 1995 PRA changes existing law in several significant ways: 

    • Makes more explicit the responsibilities of Federal agencies in developing proposed information collections and submitting them to OMB for review and approval.
    • Requires Federal agencies to seek public comment concerning information collections before submitting an ICR to OMB for clearance.
    • Requires Federal agencies to certify that their ICR complies with certain standards and activities. The certification requirements are outlined in the 10/95 version of the OMB Form 83-I (formerly the SF-83). The certification requirements include such issues as avoiding duplication, minimizing the burden on small entities, and specifying the duration of recordkeeping.
    • Expands the definition of "collection of information" to include all third-party and public information disclosures, recordkeeping and reporting
    • Defines the term "burden" to include the resources expended for "acquiring, installing and utilizing technology and systems".
    • Emphasizes burden reduction, with specific yearly goals.
     OMB requires Federal agencies to submit a supporting statement, and to attach a copy of the public notice showing its date of publication. The purpose of the supporting statement is to provide background material and supporting analysis for the information contained on OMB Form 83-I. As part of its submission, an agency must provide OMB with information on the type of information collection, a characterization of the affected public, the annual reporting burden, the length of any recordkeeping requirement, the annualized costs to respondents, and whether the request significantly impacts a substantial number of small entities.