State Suspended Fire Prevention Fee

Annual fire prevention fee has been suspended

Approximately 800,000 California landowners who pay an annual fire prevention fee of $152.33 per habitable structure in wildland fire areas are getting a break for the next 12 years. As part of the recent cap and trade law Assembly Bill 398 signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, the fire prevention fee has been suspended for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, effective July 1, 2017. The fire prevention fee will remain suspended through January 1, 2031.

What Is the Fire Prevention Fee?

The fire prevention fee was designed to fund a variety of fire prevention services in the Wildland Fire Zones / State Responsibility Areas. These zones are typically located in the unincorporated county areas in which the State of California has the primary financial responsibility for preventing and suppressing fires. Services included fuel reduction activities, defensible space inspections, fire prevention engineering, emergency evacuation planning and a host of other fire prevention programs. Many critics called the fee illegal and have been fighting it since its inception. A lawsuit is still working its way through the courts in hopes that homeowners will be reimbursed for payments.

Do I Still Pay My Past Fees?

The suspended fire prevention fee does not impact existing fee obligations. According to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), property owners who owe past fees are required to make full payments for fiscal years 2011/12 through 2016/17. Penalties and interest may be assessed for delinquencies or failure to pay. Any questions regarding the Fire Prevention Fee program, please contact Fire Prevention Fee Service Center at 1-888-310-6447, P.O. Box 2254 Suisun City, CA 94585 or the Fire Prevention Fee Website: http://www.fire.ca.gov/firepreventionfee/

Benefits of Knowing the Fire Zones

A special notation has been added to the Wildland Fire disclosure regarding the suspension of the fire prevention fee in the Property I.D. NHD Report. Seller is legally required to disclose to buyer if the subject property is located in a very high fire hazard severity zone or wildland fire zone. Fire hazard zones may limit your ability to develop the real property, to obtain insurance, or to receive assistance after a disaster. Property I.D. makes all accurate statutory fire hazards and includes local fire hazard disclosures where available. Providing buyers with fire hazards disclosure information early in the transaction gives buyers the power and flexibility to shop around for the best insurance rates.

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