California Tire Fee – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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About the Tire Fee

The California Tire Fee is a fee imposed upon the purchase of a new tire. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) administers the program on behalf of the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). For additional information, please visit CalRecycle's web page.

The funds are used to award grants, loans, and subsidies to businesses or other entities that promote activities or develop technologies for tire recycling. The funds are also used by the CARB for air pollution control and prevention.

The California consumer. Generally, the retailer will collect the tire fee from the customer at the time of sale.

Consumers who purchase new tires through an internet transaction from an out-of-state seller for delivery in California without paying the tire fee, should pay the tire fee directly to the CDTFA.

California retailers remit the tire fee to the CDTFA. The tire fee charged to a customer must be separately stated on the invoice or receipt provided to the customer. Retailers may retain a portion of the tire fee collected (1.5 percent) as reimbursement of their costs for collecting the tire fee.

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 send an inquiry though our website at Email Your Tax Questions.

The tire fee is charged per tire. This includes:

  • New tires sold at retail,
  • New tires used by retailers, and
  • New tires purchased by a consumer on which the tire fee was not charged.

New solid or pneumatic* tires (including the spare) whether sold separately or included with the purchase of the following:

  • New or used motor vehicles;
  • Recreational or non-recreational trailers drawn upon a highway or road;
  • Construction equipment (for example, tractor, backhoe, bulldozer, loader, etc.); or
  • Farm equipment (for example, combine harvester, baler, cultivator, picker, etc.).

New solid or pneumatic* tires intended for use with, but sold separately from the following:

  • On-road or off-road motor vehicles;
  • Motorized equipment (for example, lawn mower, golf cart, go-cart, etc.)
  • Construction equipment; or
  • Farm equipment

A new tire does not include retreaded, reused, or recycled tires.

*A pneumatic tire is a tire inflated, or capable of inflation, with compressed air.

Tires sold with, or sold separately for use with:

  • Any self-propelled wheelchair;
  • Any motorized tricycle or motorized quadricycle designed for a person with a physical disability, as defined in California Vehicle Code section 407; and
  • Any vehicle that is similar to a motorized tricycle or motorized quadricycle and is designed to be operated by a person who, by reason of that person's physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.

If you are in the business of leasing/renting new or used motor vehicles, trailers, construction equipment, or farm equipment and you purchase the vehicles/equipment on which new tires are mounted without paying the tire fee, you are responsible for paying and reporting the tire fee to the CDTFA on those transactions. You are required to register for a tire fee account and report the tire fees owed.

If your customer decides to purchase the vehicle, construction equipment, or farm equipment at the end of the lease agreement (lease buyout), you are required to collect the fee from your customer on any new tires you mount on the vehicle or equipment at the time of the sale. If no new tires are mounted on the vehicle or equipment at the time of sale, or if used tires are mounted on the vehicle or equipment at the time of sale, you should not charge your customer the fee.

Yes, new tires that are included with the purchase of a trailer are subject to the tire fee.

Registration

You must register with the CDTFA, collect the tire fee, file a return and make a payment if you are:

  • A California retailer that sells new tires, including dealers, or
  • A California retailer (lessor) that sells, leases, or rents new or used motor vehicles, trailers, farm equipment, or construction equipment that include new tires, or
  • A purchaser (consumer) who purchases new tires for personal or business use, but does not pay the tire fee at the time of purchase.
    • This includes a purchaser (consumer) that purchases a new tire from an out-of-state seller that does not charge the tire fee.
    • This also includes a retailer who becomes a purchaser (consumer) by removing new tires from inventory for purposes other than retail sale or resale or by renting, for periods of four months or less (for example, short-term car rental companies), for use with motor vehicles, trailers, farm equipment, or construction equipment on which new tires were mounted (including the spare).

Go to our online registration system by clicking the Register button on the CDTFA website. Select Register a New Business Activity or Location to get started. Visit our Information Needed to Apply for Permit, License, or Account webpage for help to complete your application.

If you have questions, please contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY:711), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), excluding state holidays. From the main menu, select the option for Special Taxes and Fees.

A retailer of tires must also obtain a Seller's Permit from the CDTFA. You will be able to register for both the seller's permit and tire fee account using the CDTFA's online registration system.

For information about becoming a tire waste facility, CalRecycle's tire program website has information on permit requirements.

Visit the CalGold website for help with permit and licensing requirements for other state, federal, and local authorities (for example, you may need to be registered with the Franchise Tax Board or the Employment Development Department).

Visit California's Tax Service Center for additional information.

You may also want to consult with a tax professional for assistance about other agency requirements.

If you are required to have a California seller's permit or Certificate of Registration – Use Tax, you must register for a tire fee account and collect the tire fee when you sell tires to California retail customers. The CDTFA's online registration system will guide you through the process.

If you are not required to register for a tire fee account, you may voluntarily register to collect and pay the tire fee as a courtesy to your California customers. Upon collecting the tire fee, you must provide the customer with an invoice or similar document that lists the tire fee as a separate charge. A copy of the invoice or similar document should be retained by both the seller and purchaser.

If the out-of-state seller does not have a tire fee account, the California purchaser must pay the tire fee directly to the CDTFA.

If you are not sure whether you need to register and collect sales or use tax and the tire fee, see Tax Guide for Out-of-State Retailers or contact our Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-400-7115 (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), excluding state holidays.

Go to CDTFA's website, login with your username and password to update your account information including, but not limited to, selling your business, changing your mailing address, email address, or telephone number, or closing your business. If you prefer, you may use form CDTFA-345-SP, Notice of Business Change, Special Taxes and Fees Accounts to notify the CDTFA of changes. It is important to notify us so we can update our records to ensure you receive information, email reminders to electronically file, and other updates timely.

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 our website at Email Your Tax Questions.

Collecting the Tire Fee

The tire fee is set in statute (Public Resources Code section 42885). The current rate can be viewed on the CDTFA's website. It is important for you to keep your account current with the CDTFA as you will be notified if the rate changes.

No. Do not include the tire fee amount in your sales or use tax calculation.

If the customer is not charged for new tires that are replacing defective tires, then the customer does not owe the tire fee on the replacement tires. Retailers should make sure that their records and invoices properly reflect these transactions as replacements of defective tires.

If a manufacturer recalls the tires and instructs the retailer to provide replacement tires to customers at no cost and the manufacturer pays, reimburses or gives credit to the retailer for the replacement tires, then the manufacturer would owe the tire fee on the replacement tires. The manufacturer is deemed to be the purchaser of the replacement tires. When the manufacturer is deemed to be the purchaser, the retailer must collect the tire fee from the manufacturer.

If the customer has to pay the retailer any amount for the replacement tires, then the customer owes the tire fee and the retailer must collect the tire fee from the customer, not the manufacturer.

If the customer has to pay the retailer any amount for the replacement tires, then the customer owes the tire fee and the retailer must collect the tire fee from the customer. If the retailer does not charge the customer for the replacement tires, then the retailer must pay the tire fee owed directly to the CDTFA.

The tire fee does not apply to the following sales:

  • Sales for resale.
  • Sales to American Indians occurring on Indian reservations.
  • Sales of new tires that the retailer ships directly to a location outside California when the transaction is not subject to California sales or use tax; however, the tire fee will apply if the buyer takes possession of the new tires in California.

Please note: Sales to the United States Government are not exempt from the California Tire Fee.

In addition, tires not subject to the tire fee include tires intended for use or sold with:

  • Any self-propelled wheelchair;
  • Any motorized tricycle or motorized quadricycle designed for a person with a physical disability as defined in California Vehicle Code section 407; and
  • Any vehicle that is similar to a motorized tricycle or motorized quadricycle and is designed to be operated by a person who, by reason of that person's physical disability, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.

Filing and Making a Payment

The tire fee return and/or payments are due on or before the fifteenth day of the month following each reporting period. For example if your reporting period is for January thru March the return and/or payment are due on April 15th. The California Tire Fee Return (CDTFA-501-TF) is due on either a quarterly or yearly filing basis. Your filing frequency will be determined at the time you register.

You must file a return for the reporting period even if you did not sell or purchase any new tires subject to the fee during the period.

To file your tire fee return and make fee payments, log in to our online services system. Returns and/or payments must be submitted by the due date to be considered timely.

When filing online, you are able to file and pay the tire fee due in one transaction.

Other payment options are available including: check, money order, credit card payment, or Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT). Please note that for credit card payments, a service fee of 2.3% of the transaction amount will be charged by the credit card processing vendor. For more information, please visit our payment page.

Tire Fee registrants with an estimated average monthly tire fee payment of $20,000 or more are required to pay by EFT. The CDTFA will notify you in writing if you are required to remit your tire fees electronically. Voluntary or mandatory EFT payments can be made on our website at Make a Payment.

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

If you have overpaid the tire fee directly to the CDTFA, you may file a claim 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 should specify the period for which you are making the claim and the amount of the refund. Additional refund details are on the CDTFA's refund page.

You can also file a claim for refund online by logging in to our online service system using your User ID and Password. Go to your tire fee account, and then select More under the I want to… section. Or, you may mail your claims to:
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
Special Taxes and Fees
Appeals and Data Analysis Branch (MIC: 33)
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0033

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 tire fee
  • Six months after you overpaid the tire 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, CDTFA cannot consider your claim, even if you overpaid the tire fee. If you have questions about your deadline to file a refund claim, contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (TYY:711), Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), excluding state holidays.