DEFINITION of 'Impact Fee'

A fee imposed on property developers by municipalities for the new infrastructure that must be built or increased due to new property development. These fees are designed to offset the impact of additional development and residents on the municipality's infrastructure and services, which include the city's water and sewer network, police and fire protection services, schools and libraries.

These fees can also be levied against any individual or entity where its actions create an externality within a municipality.

BREAKING DOWN 'Impact Fee'

Some U.S. states attempted to institute an impact fee on individuals who owned vehicles registered in another state, who then subsequently registered that same vehicle in their homestate. This smog impact fee was eventually overturned by the U.S. courts, who stated the fee was unconstitutional on the grounds that it unfairly discriminated against persons from other states.

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