Cigarette and Tobacco Products Online License Renewals – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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1. What is online cigarette and tobacco product license renewal?

Cigarette and tobacco products retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, and importers must use our online registration system to renew their license(s). You can access the system with your User ID and Password.

Our online renewal process is convenient, available 24 hours a day, and easy to use. The online renewal process will reduces errors and the time needed to process renewal applications.

2. Do I have to renew my license?

Yes. All licensees registered under the cigarette and tobacco products licensing program must renew their license(s) annually. Payment of the renewal fee will be required in order to complete your application for license renewal. Visit the tax rate page to view current and historical cigarette and tobacco products license and renewal license fees for retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, and importers.

Beginning January 1, 2017, the following changes have been made to the cigarette and tobacco products licensing law:

  • You may not sell any products containing, made, or derived from nicotine that is intended for human consumption; any electronic smoking or vaping device that delivers nicotine or other vaporized liquids; or any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product, whether or not sold separately, without a valid Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer's License.
  • Retailers will be required to pay an annual renewal fee.
  • The annual renewal fee for wholesalers and distributors will increase.

The new renewal fee amounts are shown below. Payment of the renewal fee will be required in order to complete your license renewal. If you have a cigarette and tobacco license renewal date that falls on or after January 1, 2017, you will be required to pay the new renewal fee even if you submit your renewal application earlier than January 1, 2017 (e.g. in November or December 2016).

License Type Renewal Fee
(On or before 12-31-16)
Renewal Fee
(On or after 1-1-17
Retailer N/A $265 per location per year
Wholesaler/ Distributor $1,000 per location per year $1,200 per location per year

3. How do I renew my license?

You will be able to renew your license by logging in with your User ID and Password, through our online registration system or Log In page.Your Express Login will not grant you access to renew your license online.

Approximately 60 days prior to your license expiring, the Board of Equalization (BOE) will send you an email and paper notice reminding you to renew.

4. Do I need an email address to renew?

No. However, we strongly suggest you provide us with one, so we can email reminders of your upcoming renewal deadline and status updates on your current renewal application.

We also email important tax and fee information, and other information that can affect your business operations, via email.

5. What if I donít have a computer?

If you do not have access to a computer, you can visit one of our district offices and use a computer kiosk to process your online renewal application. Your local library may have computers with Internet access available to the public.

6. Is there a cost to using online renewal?


7. How do I obtain a User ID and Password?

If you use Express Login to conduct business with us, you can create a User ID and password to manage your accounts. From the Log in page, select “Create a User ID.” Enter your account number, name and Express Login Code.

8. Can I use my existing User ID and password?

Yes. However you may need to link your cigarette and/or tobacco account to your existing User ID. If your accounts are not linked, you will not be able to renew your license online. To link your cigarette and/or tobacco products account to your existing account, log into your account , find the “Manage Another Account” section, click on “Link An Account,” enter your Express Login Code, account number, and submit. After you link your accounts, you should now see your cigarette and/or tobacco account(s) in your list of accounts.

9. What if I have an ownership change?

If you have an ownership change such as switching from a sole proprietor to a partnership, you will not be able to renew license online. You must close your current license and apply for a new license and account number using online registration.

10. What if I am closing a location?

The online renewal process allows you to close one or more business locations. A screen will display all your locations available for renewal. You may choose “Renewal” or “Closed”. If you chose “Closed,” another field will open up asking for the “Date Closed.”

11. Can I renew multiple licenses at one time?

Yes. A screen will display all licensed locations available to renew. The number of locations displayed on each page is limited, but you can scroll to see all locations.

12. Will I be able to print my renewal license online?

Yes. Once you have successfully completed and submitted your application and paid the required fees, you will be prompted to print your license. You will be required to acknowledge that you have read and understand the Renewal Packet before you can print your license. However, if there are pending issues with your application, such as changes to mailing address, DBA, and/or email address, your application will be in a pending status. You may be required to contact the BOE.

Once the issues have been resolved, you will receive an email requesting you log in, view your application, and print your license.

13. What do I do if my license was closed out for failure to renew in a timely manner?

To obtain a valid license, Log In with your User ID and Password, and then start the application process. Please note beginning January 1, 2017, an application fee will be required in order to obtain a valid retailer license. See our tax and fee rates page for the current license fee amount.

14. How do I reactivate my expired manufacturer, importer, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer license?

Follow the instructions provided under question 13 above.

15. What options are available when I pay my renewal fee(s) online?

There are several options available to make a payment. We offer two convenient online payment options: Pay direct from your bank account or pay online with a credit card. You may also pay by touch-tone phone with a credit card. If you pay with a credit card, a service fee will apply. Please note that a convenience fee of 2.3 percent of the transaction amount or a minimum of $1.00 will be charged by the credit card processing vendor. Visit our payment webpage.

16. Who can I contact if I have questions?

Online help is available while you are renewing your license. Just click on the help icons identified by a question mark (?). You may also contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), excluding state holidays.

We are committed to assisting you through each step of the process.