Hazardous Substances (Waste) Fee Guide

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) administers four hazardous waste fee programs in cooperation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), pursuant to the requirements of the California Hazardous Substances Tax Law.

We created this guide to provide easily accessible information to assist you in understanding your obligations related to the hazardous substances programs.

For hazardous substances programs previously administered by CDTFA such as the activity fee, please visit our Industry Topics page.

Hazardous Substance Programs

Disposal Fee

Persons who dispose of hazardous waste to land at an authorized hazardous waste disposal facility in California will pay a disposal fee directly to the disposal facility, and the disposal facility then submits the fee and a return to CDTFA. The hazardous waste generation and handling fees may also apply; refer to the Generation and Handling Fee section for more information.

The fee varies and is determined by the waste category and the total tonnage of waste. Only the disposal facilities/operators are required to file returns with the CDTFA. (Health and Safety Code (HSC) section 25174.1, et seq.)

The hazardous waste disposal fee ends on June 30, 2022 (Senate Bill 158; Stats. 2021, ch.73).

Environmental Fee

The environmental fee is imposed on businesses/organizations in industry groups that use, generate, store, or conduct activities related to hazardous materials. Activities related to hazardous materials may include the use of products such as ink, plastics, paint, etc., which were manufactured using hazardous materials. The fee applies to corporations, general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited liability companies, and sole proprietorships that have the qualified number of employees who are each employed more than 500 hours in California during the calendar year. The qualifying number of employees for the years prior to 2022 is 50 or more. Effective January 1, 2022, the qualifying number of employees is 100 or more. The fee is graduated based on the number of employees. (HSC section 25205.6.)

Facility Fee

The facility fee applies to an owner or operator of a site that is permitted by DTSC to treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste in California. Facility fees are based on statutory provisions set forth in the Health and Safety Code, utilizing a tiered permitting program. Facility fees are classified into five tiers: Full Facility Permit, Standardized Permit, Permit-by-Rule, Conditional Authorization, and Conditional Exemption. The fees vary according to the permitted level. (HSC sections 25205.2 – 25205.4, and 25205.7.)

Generation and Handling Fee

The generator fee is repealed and replaced by a new generation and handling fee effective January 1, 2022 (Senate Bill 158; Stats. 2021, ch.73). The generation and handling fee applies to each generator of hazardous waste at each generation site that generates five or more tons of hazardous waste per calendar year or portion of the calendar year. This includes most recycled waste, treated wood waste, imported non-RCRA (Resource Conservation Recovery Act) waste, and waste sent outside California for disposal. The per ton fee is determined by the total tonnage of waste generated per site. The fee also applies to facility operators that generate five or more tons of hazardous waste who pay the facility fee. (HSC section 25205.5.)

Generator Fee

Prior to January 1, 2022, the hazardous waste generator fee was imposed on anyone who generated five or more tons of hazardous waste on a tiered category basis.

How the Revenue is Used

The revenue we collect for DTSC is used to support hazardous waste management in California including the review and analysis of past, present, or potential environmental public health effects related to toxic substances.

How to Use This Guide

This guide contains important information relevant to each hazardous substance program. Each section includes a summary of the application of the fee, and lists resources related to registration, applicable fee rates, return filing, and payments.

The Industry Topics section contains specific topics important to the hazardous substances fees, including information about exemptions and refunds.

The Resources section provides links to useful information, including special notices, publications, and applicable statutes/regulations.

If You Need Help

If at any time you need assistance with topics included in this guide – or with topics not included – feel free to contact us by telephone or email. For contact information and hours of operation, please visit our How to Contact Us webpage.

If you have suggestions for improving this guide, please contact us by email.