Cigarette and Tobacco Products Online License Renewals – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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 reduces errors and the time needed to process renewal applications.
Yes. All licensees registered under the California Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003 program must renew their license(s) annually. A license is not assignable or transferable. 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.
Approximately 60 days prior to your license expiring, the BOE will send you an email and paper notice reminding you to renew your license. The BOE will send you another reminder email notice approximately 30 days prior to your license expiring. If you do not renew your license before your license period expires, the BOE will send you a final email notice indicating that your license has expired and the date it expired. It is important to renew your license before your license period expires because you must have a valid license in order to purchase or sell cigarettes and/or tobacco products at your business location.
A retailer's license is valid for a 12-month period. A retailer that adds an additional retail location will renew the retailer's license for that retail location based on a 12-month period beginning in the month the retailer's license for the first retail location was obtained.
A wholesaler and distributor's license is valid for a calendar year period.
Beginning January 1, 2017, the following changes have been made to the cigarette and tobacco products licensing law:
- A valid Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer's License is required in order to sell any products containing, made of, 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.
- Retailers will be required to pay an annual renewal fee.
- The annual renewal fee for wholesalers and distributors will increase.
Visit the tax rate page to view current and historical cigarette and tobacco products tax rates and license fees for retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, and importers. Payment of the renewal fee will be required in order to complete your license renewal. If you have a cigarette and tobacco products license renewal date that falls on or after January 1, 2017, you will be required to pay the new renewal fee even if you submitted your renewal application prior to 2017.
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.
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 provide important tax and fee information, and other information that can affect your business operations, via email.
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.
No. The only cost is for your license(s).
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.
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 and 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.
If you have an ownership change such as switching from a sole proprietor to a partnership, you will not be able to renew your license online. You must close your current license and apply for a new license and account number using online registration.
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 choose "Closed," another field will open up asking for the "Date Closed."
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.
Please note: a retailer that adds an additional retail location will renew the retailer's license for that retail location based on a 12-month period beginning in the month the retailer's license for the first retail location was obtained.
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.
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's 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's license?
Follow the instructions provided under question 13 above.
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.
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.