Special Taxes and Fees
Fire Prevention Fee – Frequently Asked Questions
A habitable structure is a building that can be occupied for residential use, including single family homes, apartment buildings, mobile, and manufactured homes. Habitable structures do not include detached garages, barns, or sheds.
Owners of habitable structures, whose names are on the records of the county assessor or the Department of Housing and Community Development on July 1 of the fiscal year, for which the fee is due.
The fee does not apply to habitable structures located on land within city boundaries or in federal ownership. It also does not apply to non-habitable structures located in the SRA boundary.
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 bills and collects the fees.
Each year, CAL FIRE provides BOE with a list of owners of habitable structures and the amount of fee(s) to be assessed. This list, which is actually in the form of a data file, is provided to BOE by January 1st. The BOE processes the data file by uploading the data into the BOE’s computer system in preparation for mailing out billings. Billings are mailed out in county order, alphabetically, starting with Alameda County, then Alpine County and so on. A mailing schedule is located on BOE’s website. Approximately 10,000 billings are issued each business day. It is anticipated that the annual mailing schedule for this program will begin in March and continue through June, until all billings identified by CAL FIRE for the fiscal year have been issued.
During the course of this fiscal year (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014), two billings will be mailed out. These billings are for two different fiscal yearly periods, 12-13 and 13-14. The compressed schedule, with two billing cycles being mailed out within one fiscal year, was a one-time occurrence. CAL FIRE and BOE needed several months to implement the new fee program after the law went into effect. Next year's billing, for fiscal year 14-15, is anticipated to be mailed beginning in March 2015. It is anticipated that the annual mailing schedule for this program will begin in March and continue through June, until all billings identified by CAL FIRE for the fiscal year have been issued.
The fee is due 30 days after your billing is mailed. Payments must be postmarked by the due date to be considered timely. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or state holiday, payments postmarked or received by the next business day will be considered timely. To determine when you can expect your billing to be mailed, please review the mailing schedule.
The BOE offers a payment plan to help feepayers pay the amount due. To request a payment plan online, visit the BOE website at www.boe.ca.gov and select “Online Services” then, the “Payment Plan” tab to login and make your request. Or call us at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711) and, when prompted, select “Fire Prevention Fee” for assistance. Representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, except state holidays.
After the due date of the bill (Notice of Determination), a penalty of 10% is automatically imposed and interest accrues on any unpaid portion of the fee. You may be relieved of that penalty if you enter into a payment plan within 45 days of the due date on the bill, and you successfully complete the payment plan. When a payment plan is completed, the penalty will be automatically waived.
If your appeal (petition) is denied or the adjustment results in a fee amount due, you will have 30 days from the date of the Notice of Redetermination to pay. If any remaining fee balance is not paid within 30 days, a penalty will begin to accrue at the rate of 20% of the unpaid fee determined to be due for each 30 day period in which the fee remains unpaid. There is no statutory provision that allows for relief of this 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/.
The fee is due from the owner of record, of a habitable structure, on July 1st of the fiscal year in which the fee is due. If you are no longer in the SRA boundaries, you will not be billed for that fiscal year.
The changes to the SRA boundaries were approved May 2013 and affect the 2013/14 billing cycle. The fee is due from the owner of record, of a habitable structure, on July 1st of the fiscal year in which the fee is due. Accordingly, for the fiscal year 2013/14, the fee is due from the person who owned the habitable structure on July 1, 2013. SRA boundaries may change again in the future.