Cigarette and Tobacco Products Online License Renewals – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Expand All | Collapse All

1. What is online cigarette and tobacco license renewal?

Starting March 2014, cigarette and tobacco products retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, and importers will be able to use our online registration service to renew their license(s). You can access the system with your User ID and Password.

This new process will reduce errors and the time needed to process renewal applications.

2. Do I have to renew my license?

Yes. All accounts registered under the cigarette and tobacco products licensing program must renew their license(s) annually.

There is no fee to renew your cigarette and tobacco retailer, manufacturer, or importer license. However, retailers who allow their license to expire will be required to pay a reinstatement fee of $100 for each location. You may not sell cigarette and/or tobacco products without a valid Cigarette and Tobacco Products License.

Cigarette and tobacco products distributors and wholesalers must pay a $1000 fee to renew their license.

3. How do I renew my license?

You will be able to renew your license by logging in with your User ID and Password, through our online registration system or Log In page.Your Express Login will not grant you access to renew your license online.

Approximately 60 days prior to your license expiring, the Board of Equalization (BOE) will send you an email and paper notice reminding you to renew.

4. Do I need an email address to renew?

No. However, we strongly suggest you provide us with one, because our system will email reminders of your upcoming renewal deadline and status updates on your current renewal application.

We also send important tax and fee information, and other information that can affect your business operations, via email.

5. What if I donít have a computer?

If you do not have access to a computer, you can visit one of our district offices and use a computer kiosk to process your online renewal application. Your local library may have computers with Internet access available to the public.

6. Is there a cost to using online renewal?


7. How do I obtain a User ID and Password?

If you use Express Login to conduct business with us, you can create a User ID and password to manage your accounts. From the Log in page, select “Create a User ID.” Enter your account number, name and express login code.

8. Can I use my existing User ID and password?

Yes. However you may need to link your cigarette or tobacco account to your existing User ID. If your accounts are not linked, you will not be able to renew your license online. Once you are logged in, find the “Manage Another Account” section, click on “Link An Account,” enter your Express Login Code, account number, and submit. You should now see your cigarette or tobacco account(s) in your list of accounts.

9. What if I have an ownership change?

If you have an ownership change such as switching from a sole proprietor to a partnership, you will not be able to renew your account. You must close your current account and apply for a new account using online registration.

10. What if I am closing a location?

The online renewal process allows you to close one or more business locations. A screen will display all your locations available for renewal. You may choose “Renewal” or “Closed”. If you chose “Closed,” another field will open up asking for the “Date Closed.”

11. Can I renew multiple licenses at one time?

Yes. A screen will display all locations available to renew. The number of locations displayed on each page is limited, but you can scroll to see all locations.

12. Will I be able to print my renewal license online?

Yes. Once you have successfully completed and submitted your application, you will be prompted to print your license. However, if there are pending issues such as mailing address, DBA changes, and email address, your application will be in a pending status. You may be required to contact the BOE.

Once the issues have been resolved, you will receive an email requesting you log in, view your application, and print your license.

13. How do I reinstate my retailer license?

To reinstate your license, Log In with your User ID and Password, and then start your renewal application. A message will display in red stating: “This location was closed out for failure to renew in a timely manner. In order to reinstate this location a $100 fee is due.” The $100 fee applies to each location you are renewing and reinstating. Once your payment is processed, you will receive an email confirmation and will be allowed to print your license.

14. How do I reinstate my manufacturer, importer, distributor, and wholesaler license?

Follow the instructions provided under question 13 above. However, there are no reinstatement fees due for these license types.

15. Can I pay my renewal and reinstatement fee online?

Yes. If you pay with a credit card, a service fee will apply. Please note that a service fee of 2.3 percent of the transaction amount will be charged by the credit card processing vendor. More information is available on our payment webpage.

16. Who can I contact if I have questions?

Online help is available while you are renewing your license. Just click on the help icons identified by a question mark (?). You may also contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), excluding state holidays.

We are committed to assisting you through each step of the process.