Lead-Acid Battery Fees

Helping your business succeed is important to the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). Understanding the fee issues specific to the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act of 2016 can be time-consuming and we want to help you get the information you need in a timely and understandable way.
This guide will help you better understand the fee obligations for dealers, manufacturers, importers, and purchasers of lead-acid batteries in California. For the purposes of this guide, a dealer of lead-acid batteries is referred to as a retailer.

Overview

The BOE is responsible for the administration of the lead-acid battery fees in cooperation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

The lead-acid battery fees generally apply to batteries typically designed for use in a vehicle, watercraft, aircraft or equipment, and are primarily composed of both lead and sulfuric acid (liquid, solid, or gel), weighing over 5 kilograms (about 11 pounds), with a capacity of 6 or more volts. The definition of lead-acid batteries can be found on the dealers/retailers and manufacturers tabs.

Beginning April 1, 2017, purchases and sales of lead-acid batteries are subject to the two separate fees:

  • California Battery Fee

$1.00 fee on the purchase of a replacement lead-acid battery, which the retailer collects from the purchaser.

  • Manufacturer Battery Fee

$1.00 fee imposed on the manufacturer or importer on its sale of lead-acid batteries.

If you purchase lead-acid batteries in California or you are a retailer, manufacturer, or importer of lead-acid batteries for sale in California you will be affected by one or both of the lead-acid battery fees.

Retailers are required to:

  • Register with the BOE for a California battery fee account.
  • Collect the $1.00 California battery fee from purchasers.
  • File the California battery fee return and remit the fee to the BOE.

If you are a retailer who imports batteries into California, in addition to having a California battery fee account, you are required to register for, file, and pay the manufacturer battery fee.

Manufacturers or importers are required to:

  • Register with the BOE for a manufacturer battery fee account.
  • File the manufacturer battery fee return and pay the manufacturer battery fee to the BOE.

If you are a manufacturer or importer who makes retail sales directly to purchasers in California, in addition to having a manufacturer battery fee account, you are required to register for, collect, file and pay the California battery fee.
Please Note: On April 1, 2022, the California battery fee increases to $2.00 and the manufacturer battery fee expires.

How the Revenue is Used

Funds from these fees are used by the DTSC for the investigation, site evaluation, cleanup, removal, monitoring, or other response actions at any area in the state that may have been contaminated by the operation of a lead-acid battery recycling facility.
For specific information on how the funds are used, visit HSC section 25215.5.

How to Use This Guide

The Getting Started provides key resources related to registration, filing returns, account maintenance, and other important information you need.
The Dealers/Retailers section provides important information for retailers who sell lead-acid batteries in California.
The Manufacturers section provides important information for manufacturers who sell lead-acid batteries in California.
The Industry Topics section contains additional information regarding the fee that may be helpful to retailers and manufacturers of lead-acid batteries.
The Resources section provides links to additional information and resources.

If You Need Help

If you need assistance see the How to Contact Us page for contact information.
If you have suggestions for improving this guide, please contact us via email.

Getting Started

If you are a dealer, manufacturer, or importer of lead-acid batteries sold in California or you purchase replacement lead-acid batteries in California, you will be affected by one or both of the lead-acid battery fees. For the purposes of this guide, a dealer of lead-acid batteries is referred to as a retailer.

Depending on your business operations, you may be required to register for both types of lead-acid battery fee accounts.

Retailers are required to register for, collect, and pay the $1.00 California battery fee to the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). Retailers who import batteries into California may be required to register for and pay the manufacturer battery fee. Manufacturers are required to register for and pay the $1.00 manufacturer battery fee to the BOE. Manufacturers who make retail sales of lead-acid batteries are also required to register for, collect, and pay the California battery fee to the BOE.

If you make retail sales of lead-acid batteries in California, you will also need a seller's permit with the BOE.

Registration

To register for your lead-acid battery fee account(s), a seller's permit, and any other permits, licenses, or accounts visit the BOE's online registration system.

If you have an existing User ID and password, click the login button and enter your user id and password. To register for a lead-acid battery fee account, select the reg link under the Manage Another Account heading, then select Register a business activity with BOE.

If you do not have an existing User ID and password, select the New Registration link (under the Log in link), then select Register a business activity with BOE and select box number 1. Selling items or goods in California. On the next screen, select box number 8. Selling and/or manufacturing lead-acid batteries and follow the prompts. The online registration system will prompt you to enter your seller's permit number, certification of registration – use tax number, or require you to register for one.

Online registration is convenient and is available 24-hours a day.

Note: The online registration for the lead-acid battery fee account will ask you to enter your seller's permit or use tax account number if you have one.

Filing Returns

Retailers, manufacturers, and importers who sell lead-acid batteries in California are required to file their lead-acid battery fee return(s) electronically with the BOE. The lead-acid battery fee returns are separate from other returns or reports you may have with the BOE. You must file a return even if no amount is owed.

Payments

Visit our website to conveniently make a payment or learn about our various payment options.

Feepayers with an estimated average monthly fee liability of $20,000 or more are required to pay amounts due by electronic funds transfer (EFT). The BOE will notify you in writing if you are required to pay your fees electronically.

Payments made by check or money order 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.

For an EFT payment to be timely, it must be initiated on or before the filing due date and funds must settle into the BOE's bank account on or before the banking day following the due date.

If you use the ACH Debit payment method and initiate your payment on the filing due date, you must allow enough time to complete your transaction by 3:00 p.m. (Pacific time) and select the next banking day as your debit date. Otherwise, your payment will not be initiated until the next banking day and will be late.

If you use the ACH Credit payment method, your EFT payment must settle into the BOE's bank account by the first banking day following your filing due date.

Fee Rates

Please visit our Tax Rates - Special Taxes and Fees page to view the fee rates.

Recordkeeping

Records must be retained for at least four years from the time the fee is due unless the BOE gives you written authorization to destroy them sooner. For additional information regarding record retention, please view Regulation 4901.

Updating Your Business Information with BOE

Feepayers should notify the BOE of any change of business ownership, email address, mailing address, location, phone, or fax number, to ensure that returns and information about the lead-acid battery fees are received timely. Use BOE-345-SP, Notice of Business Change, Special Taxes and Fees Department Accounts, to notify the BOE of changes.

Dealers/Retailers – California Battery Fee

Dealer/Retailer

A dealer is every person selling replacement lead-acid batteries directly to purchasers, at retail in California. A dealer includes a manufacturer of lead-acid batteries who makes retail sales directly (in person or online) to purchasers in California. For the purposes of this guide, a dealer of lead-acid batteries is referred to as a retailer.

Beginning April 1, 2017, retailers are generally required to collect the $1.00 California battery fee from purchasers on each replacement lead-acid battery sold at retail, as discussed below.

Batteries Subject to the California Battery Fee

The California battery fee applies to sales of new lead-acid batteries primarily composed of both lead and sulfuric acid, whether sulfuric acid is in liquid, solid, or gel form, weighing over five kilograms (about 11 pounds) with a capacity of six or more volts that is used for any of the following purposes:

  • As a starting battery that is designed to deliver a high burst of energy to an internal combustion engine until it starts.
  • As a motive power battery that is designed to provide the source of power for propulsion or operation of a vehicle, including a watercraft.
  • As a source of auxiliary power to support the electrical systems in a vehicle, as defined in section 670 of the Vehicle Code, including a vehicle as defined in section 36000 of the Vehicle Code, or an aircraft.

Replacement Lead-Acid Battery

A replacement lead-acid battery is a new lead-acid battery sold at retail in California and replaces the original battery that came with the vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, or equipment.

A replacement lead-acid battery does not include the following batteries:

  • Spent
  • Discarded
  • Refurbished
  • Reconditioned
  • Rebuilt
  • Reused

The California Battery Fee Does Not Apply to:

  • A sale for purposes of resale, in the regular course of business.
  • A sale of a battery where the California battery fee has already been paid.
  • A replacement lead-acid battery temporarily stored or used in California for the sole purpose of preparing it for use only outside the state and that it is subsequently transported and used solely outside of the state.
  • A battery sold for incorporation into new equipment for subsequent resale.
  • A battery replaced under a vehicle or battery warranty* or a vehicle service contract, as defined under section 12800 of the Insurance Code.
  • A battery intended for use with, or contained within, a medical device as defined in the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321 (h)).
  • Any battery used as a stationary storage or standby battery that is designed to be used in systems where the battery acts as either:
    • Electrical storage for electricity generation equipment, or
    • A source of emergency power, or
    • Otherwise serves as a backup in case of failure or interruption in the flow of power from the primary source.

*A battery replaced under warranty, with no additional cost to the purchaser.

Fee Rate

The California battery fee is $1.00 and will increase to $2.00 on April 1, 2022.

Refundable Deposit (Core Charge)**

Retailers must charge a refundable deposit (amount not specified), subject to sales tax (if applicable), when a consumer purchases a replacement lead-acid battery and does not provide a used lead-acid battery to the retailer at the same time. Retailers must refund the deposit if a used lead-acid battery of the same type is returned within 45 days (HSC section 25215.2).

Separately State the Fee and Deposit

The California battery fee and refundable deposit must be separately stated on the invoice for all sales of replacement lead-acid batteries. If more than one battery is sold in a single transaction, retailers may combine the fee into a single-line item.

Accept Used Batteries without Charging a Fee**

Retailers must accept up to 6 used lead-acid batteries of the same type from one person without charging any fee (HSC section 25215.2).

Posting Notice**

Retailers shall also post the following specific written notice, regarding the nonrefundable $1.00 California battery fee and refundable deposit, where it is clearly visible in the public sales area or include a statement on the purchaser's receipt.

This dealer is required by law to charge a nonrefundable $1.00 California battery fee and a refundable deposit for each lead-acid battery purchased. A credit of the same amount as the refundable deposit will be issued if a used lead-acid battery is returned at the time of purchase or up to 45 days later along with this dealer's receipt. (HSC section 25215.2 (c)).

The following business types are not required to post the above written notice:

  • Businesses that do not normally sell batteries
  • Auto repair shops that install batteries as part of the service
  • Roadside services

Please note: The above notification should reflect the fee amount of $2.00 on April 1, 2022.

**Note: The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is responsible for administering and enforcing the above refundable deposit, acceptance of batteries, and notice requirements. Any questions regarding these items should be directed to DTSC.

Registration

To register for your lead-acid battery fee account(s), a seller's permit, and any other permits, licenses, or accounts visit the BOE's online registration system.

If you have an existing User ID and password, click the login button and enter your user id and password. To register for a lead-acid battery fee account, select the reg link under the Manage Another Account heading, then select Register a business activity with BOE.

If you do not have an existing User ID and password, select the New Registration link (under the Log in link), then select Register a business activity with BOE and select box number 1. Selling items or goods in California. On the next screen, select box number 8. Selling and/or manufacturing lead-acid batteries and follow the prompts. The online registration system will prompt you to enter your seller's permit number, certification of registration – use tax number, or require you to register for one.

Online registration is convenient and is available 24-hours a day.

Note: The online registration for the lead-acid battery fee account will ask you to enter your seller's permit or use tax account number if you have one.

Filing Returns

Retailers who sell lead-acid batteries in California are required to file their return(s) electronically with the BOE. The returns are separate from other returns or reports you may have with the BOE. You must file your lead-acid battery return even if no amount is owed.

Retailer Reimbursement

The retailer may retain 1.5% of the fee collected as reimbursement for any costs associated with the collection of the fee. The remainder of the California battery fee collected by the retailer shall be timely paid to the BOE.

Manufacturers – Manufacturer Battery Fee

Manufacturers

A lead-acid battery manufacturer is the person who manufactures the lead-acid battery and who sells, offers for sale, or distributes the lead-acid battery in California. If the manufacturer is not subject to the jurisdiction of this state, the person who imports the lead-acid battery into California for sale or distribution is responsible for the manufacturer battery fee.

Beginning April 1, 2017, manufacturers of lead-acid batteries are required to pay a $1.00 manufacturer battery fee on each lead-acid battery sold to a person at retail in California, or that it sells to a dealer, wholesaler, distributor, or other person for retail sale in California. For the purposes of this guide, a dealer of lead-acid batteries is referred to as a retailer.

Manufacturers who make sales of lead-acid batteries directly to purchasers, such as a sale through a sales outlet, catalog, Internet website, or any other similar means, must also register as a retailer, collect, and pay the $1.00 California battery fee to the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). See the dealers/retailers tab for more information.

Batteries Subject to the Manufacturer Battery Fee

The manufacturer battery fee applies to the sale of new lead-acid batteries primarily composed of both lead and sulfuric acid (liquid, solid, or gel) weighing over five kilograms (about 11 pounds) with a capacity of six or more volts that is used for any of the following purposes:

  • As a starting battery that is designed to deliver a high burst of energy to an internal combustion engine until it starts.
  • As a motive power battery that is designed to provide the source of power for propulsion or operation of a vehicle, including a watercraft.
  • As a stationary storage or standby battery that is designed to be used in systems where the battery acts as either electrical storage for electricity generation equipment or a source of emergency power, or otherwise serves as a backup in case of failure or interruption in the flow of power from the primary source.
  • As a source of auxiliary power to support the electrical systems in a vehicle, as defined in section 670 of the Vehicle Code, including a vehicle as defined in section 36000 of the Vehicle Code, or an aircraft.

Replacement Lead-Acid Battery

A replacement lead-acid battery is a new lead-acid battery that is sold at retail in California and replaces the original equipment or vehicle battery.
A replacement lead-acid battery does not include the following batteries:

  • Spent
  • Discarded
  • Refurbished
  • Reconditioned
  • Rebuilt
  • Reused

The Manufacturer Battery Fee Does Not Apply to:

  • A battery for which the manufacturer battery fee has previously been paid.
  • A replacement lead-acid battery temporarily stored or used in California for the sole purpose of preparing it for use only outside the state and it is subsequently transported and used solely outside of the state.
  • A battery for incorporation into new equipment for subsequent resale.
  • A battery replaced under a vehicle or battery warranty* or a vehicle service contract, as defined under section 12800 of the Insurance Code.
  • A battery intended for use with, or contained within, a medical device as defined in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321 (h)).

*A battery replaced under warranty, with no additional cost to the purchaser.

Fee Rate

The manufacturer battery fee is $1.00. The fee is scheduled to end March 31, 2022.

Notification and Recycling Symbol Requirements**

By January 1, 2017, manufacturers of lead-acid batteries sold in California were required to notify their distributors, wholesalers, and retailers of the current Act requirements.

Manufacturers shall place a recycling symbol and additional information, as specified in HSC section 25215.65, on all replacement lead-acid batteries sold in California by July 1, 2017.

**Note: The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is responsible for administering and enforcing the above notification and recycling symbol requirements. Any questions regarding these items should be directed to DTSC.

Registration

To register for your lead-acid battery fee account(s), a seller's permit, and any other permits, licenses, or accounts visit the BOE's online registration system.

If you have an existing User ID and password, click the login button and enter your user id and password. To register for a lead-acid battery fee account, select the reg link under the Manage Another Account heading, then select Register a business activity with BOE.

If you do not have an existing User ID and password, select the New Registration link (under the Log in link), then select Register a business activity with BOE and select box number 1. Selling items or goods in California. On the next screen, select box number 8. Selling and/or manufacturing lead-acid batteries and follow the prompts. The online registration system will prompt you to enter your seller's permit number, certification of registration – use tax number, or require you to register for one.

Online registration is convenient and is available 24-hours a day.

Note: The online registration for the lead-acid battery fee account will ask you to enter your seller's permit or use tax account number if you have one.

Filing Returns

Manufacturers and importers who sell lead-acid batteries in California are required to file their return(s) electronically with the BOE. The returns are separate from other returns and reports you may have with the BOE. You must file your lead-acid battery return even if no amount is owed.

Industry Topics

Dealers/Retailers

For the purposes of this guide, a dealer of lead-acid batteries is referred to as a retailer.

Is an auto repair shop responsible for collecting the California battery fee from their customers?

An auto repair shop is considered the dealers/retailers when they sell batteries at retail to consumers. The auto repair shop must charge their customer the $1.00 California battery fee. The California battery fee must be separately stated from any other charges, fees, or refundable deposit (core charge) on the invoice. Retailers must register for, collect, and pay the California battery fee to the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) and may retain 1.5% of the fee as cost reimbursement.

Manufacturers

Is the manufacturer battery fee due if an out-of-state manufacturer sells and ships lead-acid batteries to an out-of-state wholesaler?

No. The manufacturer battery fee is due if a manufacturer sells and ships a lead-acid battery directly to a person in California or sells and ships a lead-acid battery to a retailer, wholesaler, distributor, or other person for retail sale in California.

Is the manufacturer battery fee due if a California manufacturer sells and ships a lead-acid battery to a California wholesaler?

Yes. The manufacturer battery fee is generally due if a manufacturer subject to the jurisdiction of the state sells and ships a lead-acid battery directly to a person in California or if the manufacturer sells and ships a lead-acid battery to a retailer, wholesaler, distributor, or other person for retail sale in California.

Filing a Claim for Refund if You Overpaid the Fee

If you have overpaid either of the lead-acid battery fees directly to the BOE, you may file a claim for refund by using BOE-101, Claim for Refund or Credit. Claims for refund must be in writing and state the specific reason(s) for the overpayment, specify the period for which you are making the claim, and the amount of the overpayment. Additional details about claims for refund are on the BOE website.

Time Limit for Filing a Claim for Refund

Be sure to file your claim for refund by the applicable deadline. If you don't file on time, the BOE cannot consider your claim even if you overpaid the fee. If you have questions about your deadline to file a refund claim, please contact us.
You must file a claim for refund by whichever of the following dates that occurs last:

  • Three years after the due date of the return on which you overpaid the fee
  • Six months after you overpaid the fee
  • Six months after the date a determination (billing) became final
  • Three years after the BOE collected an involuntary payment, such as from a levy or lien

Resources

Need to know more? Follow the links below for more information about the topics covered in this guide, as well as other information you might find helpful:

Laws and Regulations

California Lead-Acid Battery Fees - Health and Safety Code (§§ 25215–25215.75)
Fee Collection Procedures Law (§§ 55001-55381)

Notices

Special Notice: Registration Now Available for Lead-Acid Battery Fees

Special Notice: New Lead-Acid Battery Fees Beginning April 1, 2017

Newsletters

Newsletters

Related Industry, Tax, or Fee Guides

Tax Guide for Auto Repair Garages

Related Websites

California Department of Toxic Substances Control

Additional Sources

Assembly Bill 2153, Chapter 666, Statutes of 2016

Other Helpful Resources

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  • BOE Online Services – Learn about the online services BOE offers.
  • BOE Field Offices – A comprehensive listing of all BOE field offices and contact information.
  • Find Your Board Member – You can use this application to quickly identify your elected BOE representative.
  • Get It In Writing! – Tax and Fee Laws can be complex, and you are encouraged to put your tax questions in writing. You may also send your request in a letter to: Special Taxes and Fees, MIC:31, California State Board of Equalization, P.O. Box 942879, Sacramento, CA 94279-0031.
  • Taxpayers' Rights Advocate (TRA) – The TRA Office helps taxpayers when they are unable to resolve a matter through normal channels, when they want information regarding procedures relating to a particular set of circumstances, or when there are apparent rights violations.