Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2012

Revenue and Taxation Code

Other Taxes

Part 5. Vehicle License Fee

Chapter 3. Collections and Refunds

Article 3. Refunds

Section 10902

10902. Refund of fee; total loss or theft. (a) In the event of a constructive total loss, in which the repair value exceeds the market value of the vehicle less the anticipated salvage value, or a nonrepairable vehicle, or an unrecovered total loss, due to a theft, of a vehicle, the in-lieu fee portion of the vehicle license fee that has been paid, less any offset provided in Section 10754, shall be refunded to the current registered owner (the owner of the salvage value of the vehicle), or credited against the vehicle license fee owed on the owner's replacement vehicle. The amount refunded or credited shall be based upon one-twelfth of the annual in-lieu fee, less any offset provided by Section 10754, for each full month that remains until the registration expires.

(b) No refund or credit may be made pursuant to this section unless the vehicle owner has signed a declaration under penalty of perjury that he or she has not been cited or convicted of violating Section 23152 or 23153 of the Vehicle Code (relating to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) or Section 23103 as specified in Section 23103.5 of that code (which involves a substitute for an original citation of driving under the influence) in connection with the owner's vehicle loss. If the owner has been cited under any of these code sections, the owner shall be entitled to the refund or credit upon presentation of either proof of dismissal of the citation or a finding of not guilty.

(c) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall charge to vehicle owners requesting a refund or credit pursuant to this section a service fee in the amount of fifteen dollars ($15) to cover the administrative costs of processing the request.

(d) In the case of a request for refund or credit with respect to a stolen vehicle, the vehicle owner may not be entitled to a refund or credit prior to 60 days from the date the theft of the vehicle is reported to the police. If a refund is received or a credit is applied to another vehicle and the stolen vehicle is subsequently recovered, the owner shall return the amount refunded or credited. If the owner receives a refund or credit, and the destroyed or stolen vehicle is scrapped and subsequently repaired by another person, the new owner shall pay the full vehicle license fee.

(e) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall adopt regulations for the administration of the refunds and credits provided by this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 718, in effect January 1, 1990. Stats. 1994, Ch. 1008, in effect January 1, 1995, added "or a nonrepairable vehicle," after "anticipated salvage value," in the first sentence of subdivision (a); and deleted subdivision (f) which read: "This section shall become operative on January 1, 1991." Stats. 1998, Ch. 322 (AB 2797), in effect August 20, 1998, added ", less any offset provided in Section 10754," after "been paid" in the first sentence and added ", less any offset provided in Section 10754,"after "in-lieu fee" in the second sentence of subdivision (a). Stats. 2003, Ch. 719 (SB 1055), in effect January 1, 2004, substituted "may" for "shall" after "refund or credit" in the first sentence of subdivision (b); substituted "shall" for "may" after "of Motor Vehicles " and substituted "service fee in the amount of fifteen dollars ($15)" for "fee in an amount sufficient" after "this section a" in the first sentence of subdivision (c); and substituted "may" for "shall" after "the vehicle owner" in the first sentence of subdivision (d).