At the direction of Cal Fire and as mandated by law, later this month, the California State Board of Equalization (BOE) will begin mailing fire prevention fee bills for Fiscal Year 2012-13 to owners of habitable structures located in the State Responsibility Area (SRA).
I am disappointed that the governor and legislature failed to repeal this unfair and unconstitutional tax during the recent budget negotiations, said Senator George Runner (Ret.), member of the State Board of Equalization. Their failure to take action means that rural taxpayers will be forced to pay this regressive tax yet again.
The BOE will update the billing schedule on its fire prevention fee website. Assembly Bill x1 29 was enacted July 8, 2011, and requires the BOE to collect the fire prevention fee annually on behalf of Cal Fire.
The Board of Forestry adopted new SRA boundary lines in May that will exclude some property owners from fee assessment in the Fiscal Year 2013-14 billing cycle. Mailings of those billings are expected to start in the spring of 2014. According to Cal Fire, the SRA boundary changes adopted for Fiscal Year 2013-14 do not affect the billings being mailed for Fiscal Year 2012-13. Billing recipients within the SRA during Fiscal Year 2012-13 must pay the fees for that billing cycle.
Bill recipients who believe they should not have received a fire prevention fee bill should file an appeal, which is referred to as a petition for re-determination (petition). A petition must be filed within 30 days of the date printed on the bill. Visit the fire prevention fee web page for a copy of the petition form. Fee payers may wish to consider paying the full amount to avoid interest charges while Cal Fire processes their appeal.
Fee payers with questions about the fire prevention fee program or the appeals process should contact the Fire Prevention Fee Service Center at 1-888-310-6447.
Fee payers with payment-related questions may call the BOE at 1-800-400-7115 and select fire prevention fee for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except state holidays.
More information: www.boe.ca.gov/taxprograms/fire_prevention_fee_resource.htm and www.calfirefee.com .