Special Taxes and Fees

Fire Prevention Fee Program Information

  1. Description of the program
  2. Background of the program
  3. What is the fund used for?
  4. Who is required to register?
  5. Point of taxation
  6. Industry terms and related definitions

  1. Description of the program

The Fire Prevention Fee (fee) is assessed annually on owners of habitable structures located within a State Responsibility Area (SRA). This fee will fund a variety of important fire prevention services within the SRA, including brush clearance and activities to improve forest health so the forest can better withstand wildfire.

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  1. Background of the program

Assembly Bill (AB)x1 29, signed by the Governor on July 7, 2011, authorized the fee effective July 1, 2011. For bill history and analyses: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=abx1_29&sess=CUR&house=B&author=blumenfield

  1. What is the fund used for?

The legislation established the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund and requires the BOE to collect the fee commencing with the 2011-12 fiscal year. This fee will fund a variety of important fire prevention services within the State Responsibility Area (SRA), including brush clearance and activities to improve forest health so the forest can better withstand wildfire. Other activities funded by the fee include fire break construction, defensible space inspections, fire prevention engineering, emergency evacuation planning, fire prevention education, fire hazard severity mapping, fire related law enforcement and implementation of the State Fire Plan.

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  1. Who is required to register?

There are no registration requirements. The person or agency responsible for paying the fee is the owner of record of a habitable structure as of July 1, on the county assessor rolls, or as recorded by the California Department of Housing and Community Development on July 1 of the state fiscal year in which the fee is due. This is the case regardless of whether the owner of record changes during the course of the fiscal year. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has sole discretion in regard to identifying the owners and the amount of the fee(s) to be assessed. CAL FIRE provides a list of feepayers annually to the BOE. The BOE registers the owners of habitable structures located within a State Responsibility Area (SRA) pursuant to the list provided by CAL FIRE.

  1. Point of taxation

The fee is imposed annually on the owners of habitable structures as recorded on the County Assessor rolls or as recorded by the Department of Housing and Community Development on July 1 of the fiscal year for which the fee is due.

Owners of habitable structures within State Responsibility Areas (SRA), and also within the boundaries of a local agency that provides fire protection services, shall receive a reduction in the fee amount of $35.00 per habitable structure.

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  1. Industry terms and related definitions

For purposes of implementation and administration of the Fire Prevention Fee, pursuant to sections 4210-4229:

  • "Structure" means a building used or intended to be used for human habitation. A building includes, but is not limited to, a mobile home or manufactured home.
  • "Habitable Structure" means a building that contains one or more dwelling units or that can be occupied for residential use. Buildings occupied for residential use include single family homes, multi-dwelling structures, mobile and manufactured homes, and condominiums. Habitable structures do not include incidental buildings such as detached garages, barns, outdoor sanitation facilities, and sheds.
  • "State Responsibility Areas" means areas of the state in which the financial responsibility of preventing and suppressing fires has been determined by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection to be primarily the responsibility of the state.
  • "Property owner" means that individual or individuals, company, corporation, or other entity that is the owner of record of said habitable structure in the county assessor rolls or as recorded by the Department of Housing and Community Development on July 1 of the state fiscal year for which the fee is due.