Fire Prevention Fee Program – InformationOpen All Close All
The Fire Prevention Fee (fee) is assessed annually on a fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) basis on owners of habitable structures located within a State Responsibility Area (SRA). The fee funds a variety of important fire prevention services within the SRA, including brush clearance and activities to improve forest health so the forest can better withstand wildfires.
Assembly Bill (AB)x1 29, signed by the Governor on July 7, 2011, authorized the fee effective July 1, 2011.
Effective January 1, 2015, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) may exempt your habitable structure from the fee if it was deemed uninhabitable as a result of a natural disaster during the year the fee is due. To qualify, the owner of the habitable structure must certify that certain conditions are met.
Effective January 1, 2016, the law permits a property owner subject to the fee to negotiate the payment of the fee between the buyer and the seller as a term of the sale. However, payment of the fee is the responsibility of the person who is the legal owner of the habitable structure on July 1 of the year the fee is due, regardless of any payment agreement with the buyer.
Effective July 1, 2017, the fee is suspended due to the passage of AB 398 (Stats. 2017, Ch. 135), signed by the Governor July 25, 2017. No fee billings will be issued after June 30, 2017. The suspension of the fee does not change or reduce the fee amount owed for fiscal year periods that fall within July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2017. All unpaid billings are still owed.
The legislation established the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund and requires the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, formerly the State Board of Equalization to bill for and collect the fee commencing with the 2011-12 fiscal year. The fee funds a variety of important fire prevention services within the SRA, including brush clearance and activities to improve forest health so the forest can better withstand wildfires. Other activities funded by the fee include fire break construction, defensible space inspections, fire prevention engineering, emergency evacuation planning, fire prevention education, fire hazard severity mapping, fire related law enforcement and implementation of the State Fire Plan.
There are no registration requirements. The person or agency responsible for paying the fee is the owner of record of a habitable structure as of July 1 of the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) in which the fee is due. This is the case regardless of whether the owner of record changes during the course of the fiscal year. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has sole discretion in regard to identifying the owners and the amount of the fee(s) to be assessed. CAL FIRE provides a list of feepayers annually to the CDTFA. Then, CDTFA issues billings to the owners of habitable structures located within a SRA pursuant to the list provided by CAL FIRE.
The fee is imposed annually on a fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) basis on the owners of record of habitable structures located on property within the SRA as of July 1 of the year for which the fee is due.
If the habitable structure located on property within the SRA is also located within the boundaries of a local agency that provides fire protection services, the owner will receive a $35.00 reduction in the fee for each habitable structure.
For purposes of administering the Fire Fee program,
- "Habitable Structure" means a building containing one or more dwelling units or that can be occupied for residential use. Buildings occupied for residential use include single-family homes, multi-dwelling structures, mobile and manufactured homes, and condominiums. Habitable structures do not include commercial, industrial, or incidental buildings such as detached garages, barns, outdoor sanitation facilities, and sheds. (PRC section 4211(a))
- "State Responsibility Areas" means areas of the state in which the financial responsibility of preventing and suppressing fires has been determined by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to be primarily the responsibility of the state. (PRC sections 4102, 4211(b))
- "Property owner" means that individual, company, corporation, or other entity that is the owner of record of said habitable structure on July 1 of the state fiscal year for which the fee is due. (California Code of Regulations, title 14, section 1665.2