Special Taxes and Fees
Fire Prevention Fee – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Fire Prevention Fee?
An annual fee of up to $150, (ABx1 29, Chapter 8, effective July 1, 2011) assessed on owners of habitable structures located in State Responsibility Areas (SRA) throughout the state. See the SRA Parcel Viewer for site specific information.
What is the "State Responsibility Area?"
The State Responsibility Area (SRA) includes state and privately-owned forest, watershed, and rangeland where the State of California is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires. SRA does not include lands within city boundaries or in federal ownership. SRA is determined under regulations of the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (Board). The SRA definition can be found in Public Resources Code (PRC) 4126.
The owners of habitable structures as recorded on the County Assessor rolls or as recorded by the Department of Housing and Community Development's rolls on July 1 of the fiscal year for which the fee is due.
How much is the fee?
For the fiscal year July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, the fee is $150.00 per habitable structure. The fee may be adjusted annually pursuant to Public Resources Code section 4212(b). Owners of habitable structures located in the SRA that are within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency will receive a reduction of $35 per habitable structure.
What is a habitable structure?
A "habitable structure" is a building that can be occupied for residential use. These include single family homes, multi-dwelling structures, mobile and manufactured homes, condominiums and apartment buildings. Habitable structures do NOT include incidental buildings such as detached garages, barns, outdoor sanitation facilities and sheds.
The fee does not apply to habitable structures located on land within city boundaries or in federal ownership.
There are no returns or reports to file. Each year, CAL FIRE provides the Board of Equalization (BOE) a list of fee payers and the amount of fee(s) to be assessed. The BOE then issues the billings and collects the fees. Billing notices will include instructions about where to remit payments, how to file an appeal and the due date. The fee is due 30 days from the date of billing. Visit BOE's website at BOE payment for additional payment information.
Be sure to postmark your payment by the due date to avoid penalty and interest charges. For late payment penalty and interest charges, refer to Revenue and Taxation Code section 55042. To set up an installment payment plan, please contact the BOE at 1-800-400-7115, Monday-Friday, 8:00 - 5:00 PM.
You may enter into an Installment Payment Agreement (IPA) and make monthly payments to pay off your liability. Please call 1-800-400-7115, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Pacific Time for more information.
After the due date of the Notice of Determination, a finality penalty of 10% is automatically imposed and interest accrues on any unpaid portion of the fee. You may be relieved of the 10 % finality penalty, if you enter into an IPA within 45 days of the due date of the Notice of Determination and you successfully complete the payment arrangement. Upon the satisfactory completion of an IPA, the finality penalty of 10% will be relieved. A request for relief of penalty is not required.
If you have petitioned your billing, a Notice of Redetermination is issued to inform you of the decision reached and notify you of the amount of fees owed. After the due date on the Notice of Redetermination in the Fire Fee program, a penalty of 20%, per month, is automatically imposed and interest continues to accrue on any unpaid portion of the fee. Completing an IPA will not relieve the 20% penalty charges. There is no statutory relief for this penalty.
After you receive the billing, if you believe the fee is not due, you may submit a petition to CAL FIRE. The petition must be postmarked within 30 days from the date on the notice (billing). The petition must be in writing and state the specific grounds upon which the petition is based. The petition form and mailing instructions can be found at: http://www.firepreventionfee.org/sra_appeals.php. CAL FIRE will review the petition and make a decision within 60 days. The BOE will also be notified and will send a new billing or issue a refund if payments made were determined not to be due, based on the CAL FIRE decision. In response to your petition, a Notice of Redetermination will be issued.
If your petition is denied or if fees are owing, you will have 30 days from the date of the Redetermination to pay. Failure to pay within the prescribed time period will result in a 20% per month penalty that will accrue on any unpaid portion of the fee. There are no provisions within the law for relief of the 20% per month penalty.
Please note that the filing of a petition does not prevent the accrual of interest. You may wish to remit payment of the fee portion of your billing while your petition is being considered by CAL FIRE. Payment is not an acknowledgment by you that the fees are due and does not in any way affect consideration of your petition.
For more information on the appeals process, visit: http://www.firepreventionfee.org/.
For additional information you may visit the Fire Prevention Fee Service Center website at http://www.firepreventionfee.org/ or you may call or write to them at the following:
Fire Prevention Fee Service Center
P.O. Box 2254
Suisun City, CA 94585
1-888-310-6447 toll free
Contact the BOE's Special Taxes and Fees for the following:
- To make payment for the Fire Prevention Fee, or enter into an installment payment agreement
- To change a mailing address
- To request a refund of Fire Prevention Fee amounts previously overpaid to the BOE due to a clerical error on your behalf (for example: paying the bill twice, overpaying the stated amount due).
- The claim must be in writing and state the specific grounds upon which the claim is based.
- The claim must be filed within six months of the date of overpayment or three years from the date the billing becomes "final" (the "final" date is 30 days from the date on the billing), whichever date is later.
- You can use form BOE-101, Claim for Refund or Credit to file your claim. Please mail your completed claim to:
Special Taxes and Fees, MIC: 88
State Board of Equalization
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0088
For questions please call 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711)