Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the SRA Fire Fee?
It is an annual fee assessed on owners of habitable structures on property located within the State Responsibility Area (SRA). The SRA is an area where the State of California is financially responsible for the prevention and suppression of wildfires. The SRA does not include lands within incorporated city boundaries or federally owned lands.The fee provides a stable source of funding for vital fire prevention activities such as fuel reduction activities that lessen the risk of wildfire, defensible space inspections, fire prevention engineering, emergency evacuation planning, fire prevention education, fire hazard severity mapping, implementation of the state and local fire plans, and fire-related law enforcement activities such as arson investigation.
- Are ALL structures assessed the fee?
The fee is not assessed on all structures. Barns, woodsheds, detached garages, outdoor sanitation facilities, outbuildings, industrial or incidental buildings and other structures not used for human habitation are not assessed the fee.
- What about commercial buildings?
The fee is not assessed on commercial structures.
- What is a habitable structure?
A habitable structure is defined as a building used or intended to be used for human habitation. It includes, but is not limited to, a mobile home, single family homes, multi-dwelling structures (for example, apartment buildings), manufactured homes, and condominiums. RVs and houseboats are not considered habitable structures according to the Fire Fee law.
- What about condominiums?
In a condominium complex, each owner has a separate parcel and would be assessed $152.33 per condominium, with a reduction of $35 per condominium if it is also within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency.
- What about apartments?
In an apartment complex, the fee is $152.33 per apartment building (not per apartment unit), and with a reduction of $35 per apartment building if it is also within the boundaries of a local fire protection agency.
- What if I’m already protected by another fire agency?
The fee is discounted $35 per habitable structure if the structure is within the boundaries of a local agency that provides fire protection services. In these cases, the fee will be $117.33 per habitable structure. 98% of the structures within the SRA are served by either local fire districts or county fire departments.
- How do I find out if my home is in the SRA?
Click here for several viewing options. In May 2013, the State Board of Forestry approved changes to the SRA Boundary lines. The new maps are available here.
- How many parcels of land in each county were billed?
A county-by-county count is available HERE.
A count by ZIP Code is also available (Excel format).
- When is the due date for my Fire Fee bill?
If the fee is not paid within 30 days of the billing date, a late notice will be mailed, which will include interest and penalties.
- When will the Fire Fee bills be mailed?
The 2014-15 bills mailed from March to June 2015 at a rate of 10,000 per day. The full mailing schedule is available here. Future billings are also expected to be in the spring.
- How do I file an appeal or protest my Fire Fee bill?
Taxpayers who wish to file an appeal may do so by filing a petition with the state. The petition must be filed within 30 days of the billing date. More information is available on our How to Appeal page.
- Is the Fire Fee a tax deductible item like property taxes?
In January 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued an opinion that fire fee payments are not tax deductible because the fee is not a tax under California or federal law and because it is assessed only against specific property to provide a local benefit. For a longer explanation, follow this link.
- If I cannot pay the amount due all at once, what should I do?
The BOE offers a payment plan to help feepayers pay the amount due. To request a payment plan online, visit the BOE website at www.boe.ca.gov and select Online Services then, the Payment Plan tab to login and make your request. Or call us at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711) and, when prompted, select “Fire Prevention Fee” for assistance. Representatives are available to assist you Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), except state holidays.