Tax refunds, cigarettes and tobacco product sales, the California Tire Fee, and the eWaste Recycling Fee

This month's eBlast covers a variety of tax tips pertaining to several different areas which may be of interest to you. Topics include tax refunds, cigarettes and tobacco product sales, the California Tire Fee, and the eWaste Recycling Fee.

How can I check on the status of my income tax refund?

Individuals and businesses can check the status of their state income tax refund on the Franchise Tax Board’s (FTB) website.

Before you go to this website, you will need a few pieces of information to verify the status of your 2012 California personal income tax refund: your social security number, your mailing address, the refund amount shown on the tax return you filed, and a compatible browser and operating system. Remember to log out and close your browser when you are finished to ensure the highest level of security.

Generally, you should receive your state tax refund within 7-10 days if you efiled your return and within 8-12 weeks if you mailed your return. Remember that the FTB will issue most refunds within these timeframes, however, a very small percentage of tax returns require additional time to process for various reasons, such as when a return has errors, is incomplete, or needs further review.

Please note: If your address changed since you filed your return, please update your address online.

Can a mobile seller get a retailer’s license for sales of cigarettes and tobacco products?

While a mobile seller may obtain a permit to sell certain products, you cannot sell cigarettes or tobacco products from a mobile location in California. If you operate from a catering truck, lunch wagon, or other mobile facility, you do not qualify for a California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer’s License because a mobile location does not meet the definition of a retail location according to the law governing sales of cigarettes and tobacco products. For purposes of cigarettes or tobacco products, a “retail location” means either a building from which cigarettes or tobacco products are sold at retail, or a vending machine.

For more information, see Business and Professions Code section 22971, subdivision (q) and publication 78, Sales of Cigarettes and Tobacco Products in California. You may also visit the Board of Equalization’s (BOE) Cigarette and Tobacco Licensing webpage.

What are “eWaste” Recycling Fees and Covered Electronic Devices?

The Electronic Waste (eWaste) Fee is owed by the retail purchaser and is required to be collected by the retailer of a Covered Electronic Device (CED). A CED is a video display device with a screen size greater than four inches (measured diagonally), that has been determined by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to be hazardous when discarded. CEDs include items such as:

  • Cathode ray tubes (CRT),
  • CRT-containing devices (CRT devices),
  • Computer monitors containing a CRT,
  • Laptop computers containing a liquid crystal display (LCD),
  • Desktop computer monitors containing an LCD,
  • Televisions containing a CRT,
  • Televisions containing an LCD (excluding LCD projection televisions),
  • Plasma televisions (excluding plasma projection televisions), and
  • Portable DVD players with an LCD screen.

The DTSC has determined that the iPad and similar tablet devices containing LCD screens fall under the CED “LCD containing laptop computers” category, and are, therefore, subject to the eWaste Fee. The DSTC has also determined that cell phones are not CEDs, and are not subject to the eWaste Fee.

For more detailed information on CEDs, call the DTSC’s Regulatory Assistance Office at
1-800-728-6942 or visit the DTSC’s website at

For further information regarding the eWaste Fee, see publication 95, Electronic Waste Recycling Fee or visit the eWaste Recycling Fee page on BOE’s website.

Do you owe the California Tire Fee?

According to the California Tire Fee Law, every person who purchases a new tire shall pay a California Tire Fee of one dollar and seventy-five cents per tire. A "new tire" is defined as a new solid or pneumatic tire intended for use with on-road or off-road motor vehicles, motorized equipment, construction equipment, or farm equipment that is sold separately from vehicles or equipment. A “new tire” is also a new tire sold with a new or used motor vehicle, including the spare tire, construction equipment, or farm equipment. In the majority of cases, the California retailer will charge the purchaser the tire fee and pay that amount directly to the BOE. However, in those situations where the seller is not required to charge the tire fee, the purchaser is required to report and pay the tire fee directly to the BOE.

For more information on the California Tire Fee, please see publication 91, California Tire Fee or visit BOE’s California Tire Fee webpage.

If I am a wine grape grower located outside California, can I ship wine directly to consumers?

If you are a wine grower located outside California and you ship wine to a consumer within California, you are required to register as a Direct Wine Shipper (License Type 82) with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and with the BOE. However, prior to contacting the BOE, you must first contact the ABC, to obtain an alcoholic beverage license to operate in the state of California.

For additional information regarding alcoholic beverages, please see publication 92, Alcoholic Beverage Tax or visit the BOE’s Alcoholic Beverage Tax Law webpage.

District Offices

Culver City
5901 Green Valley Circle,
Suite 200
Culver City, CA 90230-6948
(PO Box 3652, 90231-3652)
Phone: 1-310-342-1000
Fax: 1-310-342-1061
505 North Brand Boulevard,
Suite 700
Glendale, CA 91203
Phone: 1-818-543-4900
Fax: 1-818-551-2946
12440 East Imperial Highway,
Suite 200, 90650-8397
(PO Box 409, 90651-0409)
Phone: 562-466-1694
Fax: 562-466-1598
4820 McGrath Street,
Suite 260
Ventura, CA 93003-7778
Phone: 1-805-677-2700
Fax: 1-805-677-2710
West Covina
1521 West Cameron Avenue,
Suite 300
West Covina, CA 91790-2738
(PO Box 1500, 91793-1500)
Phone: 626-480-7200
Fax 1-626-480-7260