California Interstate User Diesel Fuel Tax - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I need a DI license?
  2. Is there an alternative to registering for a DI license?
  3. What is a "Qualified Motor Vehicle"?
  4. Do I need a DI license if I never travel outside California?
  5. Do I need a DI license if my qualified motor vehicle is powered by a fuel other than diesel?
  6. Is there a charge for a DI license?
  7. What are the diesel fuel tax rates for California?
  8. How do I apply for a DI license?
  9. What credentials will I receive?
  10. What if I need to travel before I receive my DI license?
  11. Where can I purchase a California Fuel Trip Permit?
  12. Are there penalties for traveling without valid DI license or a California Fuel Trip Permit?
  13. When are DI returns due?
  14. Do I file a DI return if I didn't run during the quarter?
  15. How do I obtain a return?
  16. What is the penalty and interest rate for filing a late DI return?
  17. What records will I need?
  18. How do I contact the Motor Carrier Section?

  1. Do I need a DI license?

Generally, you need this license if you operate at least one qualified motor vehicle powered by diesel fuel and

  • You travel only in California and Mexico; or
  • You travel in California and your business is based outside California in a jurisdiction that is not a member of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). Currently, the nonmember jurisdictions are Mexico; Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia (DC); and Canada's Nunavut, Yukon Territory, and Northwest Territories.
  1. Is there an alternative to registering for a DI license?

If you qualify for a DI license but do not choose to register, you must obtain a California Fuel Trip Permit every time you reenter California after traveling outside the state.

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  1. What is a "Qualified Motor Vehicle"?

A vehicle used or designed to transport people or property is a qualified motor vehicle if it:

  • Has three or more axles; or
  • Has two axles and a gross vehicle or registered gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms; or
  • Is used in a combination that has a combined or registered gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds or 11,797 kilograms.

A recreational vehicle such as a motor home or a pickup with a camper is not considered a qualified motor vehicle when an individual uses it exclusively for personal pleasure. Vehicles used in connection with a business operation are not considered recreational.

  1. Do I need a DI license if I never travel outside California?

No.

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  1. Do I need a DI license if my qualified motor vehicle is powered by a fuel other than diesel?

No, but you may need a different kind of fuel tax permit. Please contact the Motor Carrier Office for more information.

  1. Is there a charge for a DI license?

No. However, we may require a security deposit to cover any taxes you may owe when you close your account.

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  1. What is the tax rate for California?

The diesel fuel tax rate for interstate users is adjusted annually. The current and past rates can be found on our Fuel Tax Rate page under "International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) including California Interstate User Diesel Fuel Tax (DI) Program."

  1. How do I apply for a DI license?

Online Registration

You may register for a permit, license, or account using online electronic registration (eReg). eReg is the convenient way to register and is available 24 hours a day.

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  1. What credentials will I receive?

We will send you one California Interstate User Diesel Fuel Tax License for your business. You are required to make copies of the license so that one copy is carried in each qualified motor vehicle.

  1. What if I need to travel before I receive my DI license?

If you need to enter California before you receive your DI license, you must purchase a California Fuel Trip Permit before entering the state. Your fuel trip permit must be purchased and validated before you enter the state.

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  1. Where can I purchase a California Fuel Trip Permit?

California Fuel Trip Permits are available from most permit services, some DMV offices, some truck stops, or directly from the BOE. You may purchase a California Fuel Trip Permit from the BOE by sending $30.00 (check or money order) for each permit to the Motor Carrier Office, State Board of Equalization, 450 N Street, MIC: 65, P.O. Box 942879, Sacramento, CA 94279-0065.

We have compiled a listing of known locations that sell California Fuel Trip Permits. Every attempt is made to keep this information current but we would recommend that you call ahead to verify that they have an available supply of fuel trip permits.

  1. Are there penalties for traveling without a valid DI or a California Fuel Trip Permit?

Yes. If you enter California without a valid DI license or a California Fuel Trip Permit, you may be subject to a penalty. Penalty amounts range from $100 to $500 or more (if you owe fuel tax, the penalty may be higher than $500). You will also be required to purchase a fuel trip permit and are subject to possible seizure of your vehicle. If that occurs, your vehicle will not be released until you pay all money due the State, including any costs associated with the seizure of the vehicle.

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  1. When are DI returns due?

You are required to file Form BOE-501-DI, Interstate User Diesel Fuel Tax Return every quarter. The reporting quarters and due dates are:

Reporting QuarterDue Date
January - MarchApril 30
April - JuneJuly 31
July - SeptemberOctober 31
October - DecemberJanuary 31

To avoid penalty for late filing, the tax returns must be postmarked no later than midnight on the date indicated. If the last day of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the next business day will be considered as filed timely.

All licensees must submit the DI return every quarter even if:

  • No taxable miles were traveled
  • All miles traveled were in California
  1. Do I file a fuel tax return if I didn't run during the quarter?

Yes, you must submit a "zero" return even if no taxable fuel was used.

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  1. How do I obtain a return?

We will mail a return to your mailing address at the close of each reporting period. If you do not receive your return 15 days before the due date, you may contact the Motor Carrier Office to obtain the correct form. You may also download a replacement form from this website. Forms that are downloaded from our site do not contain the tax rate. The current and past rates can be found on our Tax Rates page under "International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) including California Interstate User Diesel Fuel Tax (DI) Program".

Failure to receive the return does not relieve you from the obligation of filing in a timely manner or submitting the return.

  1. What is the penalty and interest rate for filing a late DI return?

A penalty of ten percent of the tax owed will be assessed on late-filed returns. To avoid penalty for late filing, the tax returns must be postmarked no later than midnight on the date indicated. If the last day of the month falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the next business day will be considered as filed timely.

Interest is assessed on all delinquent taxes due. The interest rate varies and the current rate is noted on line 11 on the front of your return. Interest will be calculated from the date the tax was due for each month or fraction of a month until paid.

Returns will be furnished each quarter. Failure to receive the return does not relieve you from the obligation of filing in a timely manner or submitting the return.

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  1. What records will I need?

You must maintain records that will adequately document all of the information you provide on your DI returns.

Generally, you must maintain records to document all miles you travel - including the date of your trip, route of travel, total trip miles, and miles traveled in California. You must also keep all receipts for fuel you purchase and place into your vehicles. If you maintain a bulk fuel storage facility, you must maintain additional records

  1. How do I Contact the Motor Carrier Office?

Motor Carrier Office
Special Taxes and Fees, MIC:65
State Board of Equalization
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0065

800-400-7115 toll-free phone

Internet Email

In addition to the information available on our website, you can email us your non-confidential tax questions.

Board of Equalization Tax Evasion Hotline

The Tax Evasion Hotline was created to provide an outlet for concerned citizens who are aware of tax evasion, in any form, to report problems directly to the Board of Equalization. The toll-free number is now available, and representatives are available to take calls from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (Pacific Time), excluding State holidays.

The Tax Evasion Hotline can be accessed by calling 888-334-3300.

Taxpayers' Rights Advocate

If you have been unable to resolve a disagreement with the Board of Equalization, or if you would like to know more about your rights under the law, please contact the Taxpayers' Right Advocate toll-free at 888-324-2798.

How Are We Doing?

The Board of Equalization is committed to providing top-quality public service. Please let us know how we are doing by sending us your comments or suggestions on our How Are We Doing? form.

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