Hazardous Substances Taxes – Generator Fee

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration administers four (4) hazardous waste fee programs in cooperation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), pursuant to the requirements of the California Hazardous Substances Tax Law.

The Generator Fee applies to every person who generates five or more tons of hazardous waste at a site in California within a calendar year. This includes recycled waste, treated wood waste, and waste sent outside California for disposal. The fee is determined by the total tonnage of waste generated per site. If the Facility Fee has been paid for a site, the Generator Fee does not apply. (commenced 7-1-86, H&SC section 25205.5.)

Hazardous Waste Generator Fee Surplus Funds Unavailable

Special Notices

Information About

What is the hazardous waste generator fee?

The hazardous waste generator fee is imposed on anyone who generates five tons or more of hazardous waste at a site in California within a calendar year. This includes recycled waste, treated wood waste, and waste sent outside California for treatment or disposal. The hazardous waste generator fee is determined by the total tonnage of waste generated per site. The CDTFA administers the hazardous waste generator fee in cooperation with the Department of Toxic Substances Control.

How are the hazardous waste generator fee funds used?

The funds are used by the Department of Toxic Substances Control to support hazardous waste management in California including the review and analysis of past, present, or potential environmental public health effects related to toxic substances.

Who owes the hazardous waste generator fee?

Anyone that generates five tons or more of hazardous waste at a site in California owes the hazardous waste generator fee. The hazardous waste generator fee is due for each site where hazardous waste is generated.

Generator means any person, by site, whose act or process produces hazardous waste or causes hazardous waste to become subject to regulatory control by a government agency authorized to regulate hazardous waste. For more information see Regulation 3000 and the Department of Toxic Substances Control's Fact Sheet – Hazardous Waste Generator Requirements.

If you have questions, contact the CDTFA Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY: 711) Monday through Friday (except state holidays) 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), and select the option for Special Taxes and Fees or email your question to Email Your Tax Questions.

How is the hazardous waste generator fee charged?

The hazardous waste generator fee is charged based on the total weight (measured in tons) of hazardous waste generated (produced or caused to be managed) from each site per year. The hazardous waste generator fee is due regardless of the waste's final disposition (for example, even if it is recycled).

The total tonnage reported on the hazardous waste generator fee return should include non-manifested treated wood waste. See the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Fact Sheet- Requirements for Generators of Treated Wood Waste for additional details on treated wood waste.

See Regulation 3000 and DTSC Fact Sheet - Hazardous Waste Generator Requirements for more details on the hazardous waste generator fee.

If I pay a hazardous waste facility fee for a site, am I still responsible for the hazardous waste generator fee?

No. Hazardous waste generators who have paid a hazardous waste facility fee pursuant to HSC 25205.2 or received a credit under HSC 25205.2(i) are exempt from the hazardous waste generator fee (HSC 25205.5)).

If I pay a hazardous waste generator fee to my local county (CUPA), am I still responsible for the state hazardous waste generator fee?

Yes. Any hazardous waste generator fee paid to your local county, as part of the Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPA), is separate fee from the state hazardous waste generator fee. If you generate hazardous waste in an area that has a CUPA fee, you are responsible for and must pay both hazardous waste generator fees. For more information, visit the Department of Toxic Substances Control's CUPA webpage.

Who is required to register with the CDTFA and pay the hazardous waste generator fee?

Any person that generates (produces or causes to be managed) five tons or more of hazardous waste at a site located in California within a calendar year is required to register with the CDTFA and pay a hazardous waste generator fee.

How do I register with the CDTFA?

Go to our online registration system. The system is convenient, secure, and available 24 hours a day.  Visit the CDTFA Information Needed to Get Started webpage for help to complete your application.

You may also register in person at one of our office locations by use of a kiosk or forms available upon request. If you have questions, please contact the CDTFA Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY: 7115), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Pacific time, excluding state holidays.

Do I also need to register with any other agency?

Yes. Treatment, storage, and disposal facilities must obtain either a state or federal hazardous waste ID number as well as a hazardous waste facility permit (Health and Safety Code section 25205.2) or a grant of authorization from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). For more information, visit the DTSC's Hazardous Waste or ID Manifest webpages.

Additionally, anyone who generates, transports, offers for transport, treats, stores, or disposes of hazardous waste generally must have a hazardous waste ID number (http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/IDManifest/index.cfm). A hazardous waste ID number is used to identify the hazardous waste generator, transporter, and facility that handles hazardous waste.

How do I get status or information for an EPA ID Number?

You can check the status of the issuance of your new hazardous waste ID number by going to the Reports tab on DTSC's website. You can search your business name or site address and the report will show if you have a hazardous waste ID number. You can also look up other facility and manifest information by searching by hazardous waste ID number, address, or business name, on this site.

How do I contact the CDTFA if my business changes or I need additional information?

Feepayers should notify the CDTFA of any change of business ownership, email address, mailing or location address, phone or fax number, to ensure that returns and information about the hazardous waste generator fee are received timely. Use form CDTFA-345-SP, Notice of Business Change, Special Taxes and Fees Accounts, to notify the CDTFA of changes.

You may also contact the CDTFA Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY: 711) and select the option for "Special Taxes and Fees" or send a message through the CDTFA website at Email Your Tax Questions.

What is the current hazardous waste generator fee rate?

The hazardous waste generator fee rates are set by statute (Health and Safety Code section 25205.5. The current and historical hazardous waste generator fee rates can be viewed on the CDTFA's Tax and Fees Rates webpage.

The hazardous waste generator fee rates are adjusted annually to reflect increases or decreases in the cost of living as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) issued by the Department of Industrial Relations. It is important for you to keep your account information current with the CDTFA so that we may notify you of any rate changes.

Hazardous waste generator fee rates are also listed on the Department of Toxic Substances Control's Fee Summary webpage.

How do I calculate total tonnage of hazardous waste?

The total tonnage of hazardous waste is based on the actual weight/quantity of hazardous waste generated. You should have weight tickets to support the actual weight/quantity being reported. For more information, visit the Department of Toxic Substances Control's Manifest webpage or Fee Summary webpage.

Are there any exemptions from the hazardous waste generator fee?

Yes. The hazardous waste generator fee does not apply to:

  • Used motor oil removed from a motor vehicle that is recycled by a recycler permitted by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. Health and Safety Code (HSC) 25250.24(b)
  • Waste that is generated, recycled, and reused onsite and is not transferred offsite at any time. HSC 25205.5(f)(1)
  • Aqueous waste treated in a treatment unit operating, or which subsequently operates, pursuant to a permit-by-rule, or pursuant to Section 25200.3 or 25201.5. However, hazardous waste generated by a treatment unit treating waste pursuant to a permit-by-rule, by a unit which subsequently obtains a permit-by-rule, or other authorization pursuant to Section 25200.3 or 25201.5 is hazardous waste for purposes of this section and is subject to the hazardous waste generator fee. HSC 25205.5(f)(2)
  • Hazardous waste that results when a government agency, or its contractor, removes or remedies a release of hazardous waste in the state caused by another person. HSC 25174.7(a)(1)
  • Hazardous waste generated or disposed of by a public agency or by any person under an agreement with a public agency, operating a household hazardous waste collection facility in the state pursuant to HSC 25100-25258.2, including hazardous waste received from conditionally exempt small quantity commercial generators. HSC 25174.7(a)(2)
  • Hazardous waste generated or disposed of by local vector control agencies that have entered into a cooperative agreement pursuant to HSC section 116180 or by county agricultural commissioners, if the hazardous wastes result from their control or regulatory activities and if they comply with the requirements of the HSC and regulations adopted. HSC 25174.7(a)(3)
  • Hazardous waste disposed of, or submitted for disposal or treatment, which is discovered and separated from solid waste as part of a load checking program. HSC 25174.7(a)(4)
  • Any person who acquires land for the sole purpose of owner-occupied single-family residential use, and who acquires that land without actual or constructive notice or knowledge that there is a tank containing hazardous waste on or under that property, is exempt from the fees imposed pursuant to HSC sections 25174.1, 25205.5, and 25345, in connection with the removal of the tank. HSC 25174.7(c)
  • Hazardous waste generated in a natural disaster HSC 25205.5.1.

When are the hazardous waste generator fee return and payment due?

The Hazardous Waste Generator Fee return (CDTFA-501-HG) and payment are due annually on the last day of February following the end of the calendar year for which the hazardous waste generator fee is due. For example, the calendar year 2017 hazardous waste generator fee and annual return are due February 28, 2018.

Some accounts are also required to make one (1) prepayment. The prepayment is due and payable by the last day of August of the current year. The prepayment must be calculated one of the following ways:

  • 100% of the hazardous waste generator fee due for the total volume of hazardous waste generated during January 1 through June 30 of the current calendar year or
  • An amount equal to 50% of the hazardous waste generator fee paid to the CDTFA for the entire prior calendar year.

You will be notified if your account is required to make a prepayment. Filing instructions are provided on the prepayment form Hazardous Waste Generator Fee Prepayment, CDTFA-501-HGP.

The CDTFA mails your return to the address listed on your account. All registered feepayers should receive a return within 15 days of the due date. If you do not receive a return, please contact the CDTFA Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY: 711) Monday through Friday (except state holidays) 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), and select the option for Special Taxes and Fees or email your question to Email Your Tax Questions.

Returns and/or payments must be postmarked by the due date to be considered timely. If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, returns and/or payments postmarked or received by the next business day will be considered timely.

How do I pay the hazardous waste generator fee?

Several options are available to make a payment including: directly online from your bank, credit card, check, or money order, and some of our customers are required to make payment through Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Feepayers with an estimated average monthly payment of $20,000 or more are required to pay by EFT. Please note that a service fee of 2.3% of the transaction amount will be charged by the credit card processing vendor. This service fee is retained by the vendor and is not revenue to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA). The minimum fee is $1.00.

You may also submit payment with your return. Make your check or money order payable to "California Department of Tax and Fee Administration." Write your account number on your check or money order and make a copy for your records.

Am I required to pay the hazardous waste generator fee by electronic funds transfer?

If the amount of hazardous waste generator fees you pay average $20,000 or more per month, you are required to pay by an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). The CDTFA will notify you in writing if you are required to remit your hazardous waste generator fees electronically. Voluntary or mandatory EFT payments can be made on our website at make a payment. In order to register as an EFT participant, you must complete and return form CDTFA-555-ST, Authorization Agreement for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). See our EFT Quick Reference Guide – Special Taxes for detailed information.

In addition to paying the hazardous waste generator fee by EFT by the due date, you must also file the return by the due date. Even if no amount is owed, you must still file a timely return. A delinquent return, failure to pay by EFT, or a late payment will result in penalty and interest charges. More information about EFT payments can be found on the CDTFA website at make a payment.

How long do I need to keep records?

Records must be retained for at least four years from the time the hazardous waste generator fee is due unless the CDTFA authorizes you in writing to destroy them sooner. For additional information regarding record retention please view Regulation 4901.

How do I claim a refund of the hazardous waste generator fee?

If you have overpaid the hazardous waste generator fee directly to the CDTFA, you may file a claim for refund by using form CDTFA-101, Claim for Refund or Credit, or by filing an amended return(s) stating the specific reason(s) for the overpayment. Claims for refund must be in writing, signed by the owner or an authorized representative, state the reason for the overpayment, specify the period for which you made the overpayment, and the amount of the refund requested.  Additional refund details can be found on the CDTFA's Special Taxes Claims for Refund webpage.

Mail claims to:
Department of Tax and Fee Administration
Appeals and Data Analysis Branch (MIC: 33)
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0033

Are surplus funds available for refund of payments to the local agency?

Health and Safety Code sections 25205.5 (h) and 25205.5 (i) (SB 2014 (Schiff, c. 737, stats. 1998)) provide potential for two different types of refunds for hazardous waste generators under certain circumstances:

  • Generators who paid hazardous waste generator fees to the CDTFA and in the same year also paid generator inspection fees to a Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA)(local agency). In addition, the generator must also have received a state hazardous waste generator fee credit for local fees paid in 1996.
  • Generators who submitted hazardous waste to a permitted offsite facility for recycling. For this purpose recycling does not include hazardous waste that is burned in a boiler, industrial furnace, or incinerator; disposed of; or used to produce products applied to land.

Other specific requirements apply to each of the two potential types of refunds. Separate applications for each type of refund must be submitted to the CDTFA by September 30 of each year for the prior calendar year.

As required by HSC section 25205.9, the Department of Toxic Substances Control must annually determine and notify the CDTFA, on or before June 30th of each year, whether or not there are surplus funds within the meaning of HSC 25174(k) available to issue hazardous waste generator fee refunds specified in Sections 25205.5 and 25205.9 of the Health and Safety Code.

For information regarding refunds and the application process, visit the CDTFA's Hazardous waste generator fee Surplus Funds webpage or contact the CDTFA at 1-916-322-9534.

How long do I have to file a refund claim for the hazardous waste generator fee?

Whichever of the following dates occurs last is your filing deadline:

  • Three years after the due date of the return on which you overpaid the hazardous waste generator fee,
  • Six months after you overpaid the hazardous waste generator fee,
  • Six months after the date a determination (billing) became final,
  • Three years after the CDTFA collected an involuntary payment, such as from a levy or lien.

Be sure to file your claim for refund by the applicable deadline. If you don't file on time, the CDTFA cannot consider your claim, even if you overpaid the hazardous waste generator fee. If you have questions about your deadline to file a refund claim, contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115.

What is a uniform hazardous waste manifest?

A Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest is the shipping document or bill of lading that travels with the hazardous waste from point of generation, through transportation, to the final treatment, storage, or disposal facility. It contains information about the type and quantity of hazardous waste and identifies the generator and location from where it was removed, the hazardous waste transporter, and the treatment, storage, and/or disposal facility. For more information on a hazardous waste manifest, visit the Department of Toxic Substances Control's Manifests webpage.

What is RCRA and non-RCRA Hazardous Waste?

The Resource Conservation Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) is a federal statute which regulates facilities that treat, store, and/or dispose of hazardous waste. All RCRA hazardous wastes are identified in Part 261 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations and Appendices.

Non-RCRA Hazardous Wastes are considered those wastes which are regulated in California, other than the federally regulated RCRA hazardous wastes.

Do consolidated transporters ("Milk Run") haulers owe the hazardous waste generator fee?

No. Although a consolidated transporter, formerly known as modified manifesting or milk running, is allowed to complete both the generator and the transporter section of the manifest, the transporter is not liable for the hazardous waste generator fee for waste that they transport. The actual generator is responsible for the hazardous waste generator fee. For more information, visit the Department of Toxic Substances Control's Transporters webpage.

Registration

California Identification (ID) Numbers

  • The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issues ID Numbers for generators, transporters, and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities that handle hazardous wastes not regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). If you need a California ID Number, you can find more information on DTSC's California ID Number page. You may call the DTSC Fees Unit at 1-916-445-1664.
  • The U.S. EPA issues federal (RCRA) ID Numbers

Rates

The fees are adjusted annually and approved by the CDTFA to reflect increases or decreases in the cost of living as measured by the CPI issued by the Department of Industrial Relations. Current rates are posted on the CDTFA website on the above link.

Returns & Reports

Make a Payment

Forms & Publications

Resources

Related Websites

Contact Us

If you have questions regarding this program or need to register with the CDTFA, please contact Special Taxes and Fees at the following address or telephone number:

Special Taxes and Fees. MIC: 88
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0088

Telephone 1-800-400-7115
(TTY: 711)

Email Your Tax Questions