This guide will help you better understand the regional railroad accident preparedness and immediate response fee program and its requirements.

On October 28, 2016, the United States District Court for the Northern District issued a preliminary injunction blocking the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) from administering the RRAPIR program. As a result, the BOE will not be issuing any notices to affected parties until the court resolves this issue. This injunction is not a judgment upon the validity of the program. Consequently, at this time, the program does not have an official start date. We will update the rate table, this tax and fee guide and send official notification to railroad operators when a start date is established.

Overview

A new law requires a fee to be imposed on the top 25 most hazardous material commodities transported by rail car in California.

The law affects railroad operators who transport hazardous materials by rail car and owners of any of the top 25 most hazardous material commodities that are transported by rail in California.

Railroad operators are required to collect the regional railroad accident preparedness and immediate response fee (fee) from the owner of the hazardous material at the time a loaded rail car enters California, or at the time the hazardous material is loaded into or onto a rail car in California. The fee is imposed on each loaded rail car.

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services is responsible for identifying the top 25 most hazardous material commodities and setting the fee rate. The Board of Equalization (BOE) is responsible for the administration of the program and collection of the fee.

Please visit our Special Taxes and Fees rate page to view the fee rate.

How the Revenue is Used

The funds from this fee are used by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services to respond to and provide immediate onsite response related to a large-scale release of hazardous materials from a rail car or a railroad accident involving a rail car. Funds are used to pay for the planning, development, support and maintenance of various aspects of regional, state and local emergency response programs, teams, specialized equipment, supplies, and training to prepare for such an occurrence.

For specific information on how the funds are used visit, Government Code §8574.44.

How to Use This Guide

The Owner section provides important information for owners of hazardous materials being transported by rail car in California.

The Railroad Operator section provides important information for railroad operators in California.

The Industry Topics section contains additional information regarding the fee that may be helpful to owners and railroad operators.

The Resources section provides links to additional information and resources.

If You Need Help

If at any time you need assistance, feel free to contact us.

hazardous materials crew near a train

An owner is a person who has the ultimate control over, and the right to use or sell, the hazardous material commodity being shipped (Government Code §8574.30).

There is a rebuttable presumption that the shipper, consignor, or consignee of the hazardous material is the owner of the hazardous material commodity. This presumption may be overcome by showing that ownership of the hazardous material commodity rests with someone other than the shipper, consignor, or consignee. Evidence to rebut the presumption may include, but is not limited to, bill of lading, shipping document, bill of sale, or other medium, that shows the ownership of the hazardous material rests in a person other than the shipper, consignor, or consignee.

Owners Responsibilities

The regional railroad accident preparedness and immediate response fee (fee) is imposed on each person who owns any of the top 25 most hazardous material commodities identified as subject to the fee when transported by rail car in California (Government Code §8574.32(a)(1))

As an owner of one or more of the top 25 most hazardous material commodities, you are responsible for paying the fee to a railroad operator if you ship the hazardous material commodity by rail, and

The fee is imposed upon each loaded rail car carrying a top 25 hazardous material commodity. An owner who has paid the fee will not be assessed any additional fee for further transporting the same hazardous material commodity on a different railroad within the state of California as long as the hazardous material commodity is transported in the same rail car. (Government Code §8574.32(b)(5)).

The owner of the hazardous material commodity is liable for the fee until it has been paid to the BOE, or until the fee has been paid to the railroad operator transporting the rail car (Government Code §8574.32(b)(4)(A)).

The railroad operator transporting the loaded rail car carrying the hazardous material commodity is responsible for collecting the fee from each owner based on the number of loaded rail cars the owner is transporting within the state, and paying the fee to the BOE (Government Code §8574.32(b)(2)).

Fee Rate

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services is responsible for setting the fee rate. Please visit our Special Taxes and Fees rate page to view the fee rate.

Every person who operates a railroad that transports hazardous materials by rail car into or within the state of California is required to:

Rail Cars Subject to the Fee

The fee is applied to each loaded rail car carrying a hazardous material subject to the fee:

Rail Cars Transferred to Another Railroad

If the fee was previously paid to a railroad operator on a hazardous material and the hazardous material remains in the same rail car and is transferred to a different railroad operator, the fee is not due a second time (Government Code §8574.32(b)(5)).

Administrative Cost Reimbursement

A railroad operator that transports hazardous materials, subject to the fee, by rail car into or within the state of California is allowed to charge the owner an amount up to five percent (5%) of the fee amount collected for administrative costs (Government Code §8574.32(b)(4)(B)). This amount is in addition to the fee.

Registration

You may register for an account using BOE's online registration system at your convenience. No registration fees are required for this program.

Visit the BOE's Information Needed to Get Started webpage for help to complete your registration.

If you are also a train operator that transports petroleum products in California or purchases fuel exempt for use in your train operation, you are required to register for a Petroleum Carrier permit or Train Operator license. See our online registration FAQs for more information.

Filing Returns

Every person required to register for a regional railroad accident preparedness and immediate response fee account is required to prepare and file a return (Government Code §8574.38). Even if no amount is owed, a return must be submitted timely.

The BOE-501-RR, Regional Railroad Accident Preparedness and Immediate Response Fee Return is required to be filed quarterly.

The return is due on or before the last day of the month following each quarterly reporting period (Government Code §8574.38). For example, if the reporting period is for January through March, the return is due on April 30th. Returns must be postmarked by the due date to be considered timely. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, returns postmarked or received by the next business day will be considered timely.

The BOE will mail you the BOE-501-RR return. All registered feepayers should receive a return within 15 days of the due date. If you do not receive a return, please contact us.

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 remit amounts due by electronic funds transfer (EFT). The BOE will notify you in writing if you are required to remit your fees electronically.

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.

For an EFT payment to be timely it must be initiated on or before the tax or fee 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 ACH debit payment method and initiate your payment on the tax or fee 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 ACH Credit payment method, your EFT payment must settle into the BOE's bank account by the first banking day following your tax or fee due date.

Fee Rate

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services is responsible for setting the fee rate. Please visit our Special Taxes and Fees rate page to view the fee rate.

The BOE will notify registered railroad operators of fee rate changes via a Special Notice.

Recordkeeping

Records must be retained for at least four years from the time the fee is due unless the BOE authorizes you in writing 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 fee are received timely. Use BOE-345-SP, Notice of Business Change, Special Taxes and Fees Department Accounts to notify the BOE of changes.

Definitions

The following definitions can be found under Government Code section 8574.30. Further clarification of the definitions can be found in the Regional Railroad Accident Preparedness and Immediate Response Fund Regulations.

Hazardous material means a material that the United States Department of Transportation has designated as a hazardous material for purposes of transportation in Part 172 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Owner means the person who has the ultimate control over, and the right to use or sell, the hazardous material being shipped. There is a rebuttable presumption that the shipper, consignor, or consignee of the hazardous material is the owner of the hazardous material. This presumption may be overcome by showing that ownership of the hazardous material rests with someone other than the shipper, consignor, or consignee. Evidence to rebut the presumption may include, but is not limited to, documentation, including a bill of lading, shipping document, bill of sale, or other medium, that shows the ownership of the hazardous material rests in a person other than the shipper, consignor, or consignee.

Person means an individual, trust, firm, joint stock company, other entity, or corporation, including, but not limited to, a government corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or association. "Person" also includes any city, county, city and county, district, commission, the state or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof, and the United State and agencies and instrumentalities, to the extent permitted by law.

Railroad has the same meaning as defined in Section 229 of the Public Utilities Code.

Rail car means a loaded or unloaded railroad car or rolling stock designated to transport hazardous material commodities, and includes, but is not limited to, those railroad cars subject to the requirements of Part 179 (commencing with Section 179.1) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or successor regulations adopted by the United States Department of Transportation.

Top 25 Most Hazardous Material Commodities

A list of the top 25 most hazardous material commodities subject to the fee is available in the Regional Railroad Accident Preparedness and Immediate Response Fund Regulations.

Train Operators Transporting Petroleum Products or Purchasing Exempt Fuel

If you are also a train operator that transports petroleum products in California or purchases fuel exempt for use in your train operation, you are required to register for a Petroleum Carrier permit or Train Operator license. See our online registration FAQs for more information.

Other Licensing Requirements

Check with other state, federal, and local taxing and licensing authorities about any other registration requirements.

The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) offers extensive information on state, local, and federal permit requirements.

The CalGold website can assist you with finding appropriate permit information for your business (for example, you may need to be registered with the Franchise Tax Board or the Employment Development Department).

California's Tax Service Center guides taxpayers to their needed forms and services.

You may also want to consult a tax professional for assistance about other agencies' requirements.

Filing a Claim for Refund if You Overpaid the Fee

If you have overpaid the fee 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 should state the specific reason(s) for the overpayment, specify the period for which you are making the claim, and the amount of the refund. Additional refund details are on our 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

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

Regional Railroad Accident Preparedness and Immediate Response Fee Law

Fee Collection Procedures Law

Regional Railroad Accident Preparedness and Immediate Response Fund Regulations

Special Notices

Check back for Special Notices related to the regional railroad accident preparedness and immediate response fee.

Newsletters

Newsletters

Public Data

Open BOE

Related Websites

Office of Emergency Services

Additional Sources

Senate Bill 84, Chapter 25, Statutes of 2015

Other Helpful Resources

  • Contact Us – A listing of BOE contacts for your questions and concerns.
  • Sign Up for BOE Updates – Subscribe to our email lists and receive the latest news, newsletters, tax and fee updates, public meeting agendas, and other announcements.
  • Special Notices – BOE special notices are issued whenever there is a change in law, tax rates, or BOE procedures.
  • 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, 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.