Annual Sarbanes-Oxley compliance costs averaged $16 million -- a jump of 77 percent from last year, according to a survey of corporate boards by RHR International and Directorship.

Costs were significantly higher among companies with more than $ billion in revenue, according to the poll of 266 board directors at U.S. companies. Companies with revenues of up to $1 billion spent an average of $1.8 million to comply with SOX and related new Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Those with revenues of $1 billion to $4 billion spent an average of $4.8 million, while companies with more than $4 billion in revenue spent an average of $35 million, according to the Directorship/RHR International Board Survey.

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