Motor Fuels Online Filing
Motor fuels online filing is offered to provide a more convenient method of filing motor fuels (aircraft jet fuel, motor vehicle fuel, and diesel fuel [other than International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and interstate user diesel fuel tax]) tax forms (returns and reports). It allows you to file tax forms in the EDI or flat (FLT) file formats by secure Internet connection. Our online services system validates the data submitted, prepares the data to be processed, and acknowledges filings. The type of online filing method used will depend on the type of motor fuels tax form you are filing. See Online Filing Methods below for more information.Open All Close All
The online filing of tax information has the following advantages:
- No paper motor fuels tax forms need to be filed and no signature documents need to be completed and mailed.
- Follows Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA) uniform online filing standards (EDI X12 v.4030).
- Similar mapping requirements to IRS ExSTARS online filing requirements (EDI X12 v.4030).
- No postage expenses.
- Faster processing.
- Online security ensures confidentiality of data.
- Less physical file storage space required since data may be stored online.
Motor fuels online filing uses the Internet to receive and transmit motor fuels tax forms. It incorporates the following technological attributes to ensure data security:
- Password, and
- Data Encryption.
You must also use security procedures that are reasonably sufficient to ensure that all transmissions of motor fuels tax forms are authorized. You must take the necessary precautions to safeguard your technological attributes and notify the CDTFA when you have knowledge that your technological attributes have been compromised.
You must connect to the CDTFA website to submit your files and use a browser that supports 128 bit SSL. Usernames and passwords are required. A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypted session will be established between you and the CDTFA when you log in. Your system must be configured to accept cookies. The CDTFA Online Services system requires a cookie as an element in maintaining the secure internet connection.
Log In Procedures
You must go to our Online Services login page and enter your Username and password.
Online Filing Methods
There are three basic filing methods to file motor fuels tax forms online:
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
A computer-to-computer exchange of routine business data in a standard format. For pure EDI, computer-to-computer means an original or sending application program to a processing or receiving application program. EDI consists only of business data, not verbiage or free-form messages. EDI requires a file upload of transactional data that builds the return. There are two versions of EDI available:
- IRS EDI X12 v 4030 - The terminal operator report and common carrier report may both be filed with the CDTFA in the IRS EDI format.
- CDTFA EDI X12 v 4030 - Multiple tax form may be submitted in a single transmission.
Flat file (FLT)
A FLT file is a file containing records that have no structured interrelationship. The term is frequently used to describe a textual document from which all word processing or other structure characters or markup have been removed. The CDTFA-required form of FLT file is one in which table data is gathered in lines of ASCII text with the value from each table cell separated by a tab and each row represented with a new line. This type of FLT file is also known as a tab-delimited flat file. FLT requires a file upload of transactional data that builds the return.
Online Tax Form Filing
- You complete tax forms directly online.
- Allows a diesel fuel exempt bus operator to submit a CDTFA-501-DB2A schedule by adding a file in our online services system.
- Available to diesel fuel exempt bus operator and diesel fuel government entity filers August 12, 2019, for reporting periods July 2019 and after.
Motor Fuels FLT and EDI Filing Guide
The Motor Fuels FLT and EDI Filing Guide is general plain text instructions needed to file tax forms (tax returns, reports, and claims for refund) via Flat File and EDI with the CDTFA.
It also contains:
- File type and formatting requirements
- Example Excel workbooks for creating FLT files
- The rules, procedures, and technical requirements for filing via FLT or EDI.
- Filing Guidelines
- Other useful information related to motor fuels online filing.
You are responsible for complying with the information provided in the guide and any supplemental communication provided by the CDTFA.
Instructions for Preparing Motor Fuels Schedules
The CDTFA has adopted uniform forms, schedules, mode codes, and product codes as published by the Federation of Tax Administrator's Motor Fuel Tax Section. By adopting uniform forms and codes, the CDTFA is helping to standardize reporting throughout the nation to minimize industry costs of reporting and to ensure that information can be readily exchanged between other government agencies. All required data must be presented in the format as specified by the CDTFA. CDTFA-810-FTE, Instructions for Preparing Motor Fuels Schedules, provides instructions for completing motor fuels schedules, regardless of filing method. It also contains charts displaying valid schedule code, product code, and mode code combinations for various types of filers.
Requirement to Provide FEIN
You are required to obtain and report the FEIN (Federal Employer Identification Number) of all persons involved in a reportable fuel transaction. You are also required to furnish your FEIN upon request of another person involved in a reportable fuel transaction. (For example, a Terminal Operator is required to obtain a carrier's FEIN when the carrier makes a delivery to the terminal.)
Century Date Update
Motor fuels online filing uses the Century Date format established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. All motor fuels tax forms transmitted online must be developed in compliance with an 8-digit date format. Therefore, the date format must be reflected as follows: YYYYMMDD. For example, June 30, 2019 would be reflected as 20190630.
Codes Used in Schedule Preparation
- CDTFA-810-FTA, Product Code Table (sorted by Product Code Number)
- CDTFA-810-FTB, Product Code Table (Sorted by Product Description)
- CDTFA-810-FTC, Postal Abbreviations Table
- CDTFA-810-FTD, Schedule Code Table by Tax Program
- CDTFA-810-FTH, Airport Table Code (Sorted by Airport Code)
- CDTFA-810-FTI, Airport Table Code (Sorted by City)
Motor Fuels Glossary
See our Motor Fuels Glossary for a compilation of motor fuels, Internet, and online filing terms.
Motor Fuels Online Filing Participation
Prior to using FLT or EDI to file online, we encourage you to successfully complete certification testing. See our Motor Fuels FLT and EDI Filing Guide, Certification Testing tab, for details on certification testing.
Required Actions for Participation in Online Filing
To be in compliance, upon request by the CDTFA, you must give the CDTFA access to all materials that support the preparation of your online filings.
Timely Filing of a Motor Fuels Tax Form
Tax forms are considered timely if the following occur:
- The tax form submitted online is transmitted to and received by the CDTFA on or before the due date. The status of submissions will progress from Processing or Pending CDTFA Processing to Filed, or Processed.
- Any amount due corresponding to the tax forms submitted is paid on or before the due date of the tax form. You may make your payment through standard CDTFA online payment methods or include the payment information in your online file.
You must transmit your data to the CDTFA on or before the respective due dates, regardless of whether there is tax due, a refund, or no amount owing. If a motor fuels tax form is received by the CDTFA after the due date, interest and/or penalty may be charged. Failure to file a tax form or filing an incomplete tax form may result in charges for interest, penalty, and/or license revocation.
Receipt of Filings by CDTFA
Moving from a paper to an online filing environment means that certain traditional methods of proving that a motor fuels tax form was mailed and determining what constitutes a timely filing no longer apply. Online filing of tax forms eliminates the use of certified mail and postmark dates.
After you submit a motor fuels tax form online with the CDTFA, the Online Services Filing Record PDF file should be retained as proof of timely filing. If the status of the online filing submission indicates Filed or Processed, your filing is complete. If the status remains Processing or Pending CDTFA Processing after three (3) business days, contact the CDTFA.
A payment may be made by an online transmission separate from the return transmission, or it may be included in the online file. Payments submitted by customers without the correct routing and account information will not be processed and may result in billings including penalty. Information on online payment options offered by the CDTFA is available on our Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) webpage. A payment made after the due date may be subject to interest and penalty charges.
Failure to pay online may result in the assessment of penalty charges or license revocation.
Extension of Time for Online Filing
You may be granted an extension of up to one month upon submission of a request made through Online Services. You will still need to submit payments in a timely manner. Failure to make timely tax payments may result in interest and penalty charges.
The CDTFA has developed Excel templates for several fuel tax forms. The template converts schedule/transaction records entered on a worksheet into a FLT (flat) file format. The CDTFA's Excel template was designed for smaller business entities that may not have an Information Technology department and may be used without a complete understanding of the FLT file format; and CDTFA staff is available for assistance.
Important Note: If you receive an error message when opening your template using our Online Services system, you may click “Yes” to open or switch your internet browser to Google Chrome to open the template and avoid this error message.Open All Close All
Downloadable Excel Templates – Instructions
- The applicable Excel templates are available when you log in to file your return or report online.
- Read the General Information and Template Instructions before completing the schedule.
- Save the Excel file to your computer once you complete it. We recommend saving the file to your desktop or designated file/folder. If you are using an Apple computer, you will need to save the file in Numbers then Export To as an Excel file.
- Go back to the Online Services File Attachment screen and click the Add button on the right-hand side of the screen, to bring up the dialog box.
- Select the Type of file from the drop down and provide a description/name and then select the Choose File button in the dialog box to find the saved file on your desktop or designated file/folder.
- Select the Save button in the dialog box to attach your file.
- View our online services webpage and select the Tutorials tab to view our “How To” videos.
The list of tax forms that may be filed via FLT or EDI can be found in the chart below.
|Tax Forms||IRS EDI X12
|CDTFA EDI X12
(Excel) for uploads beginning 8/12/19
IRS EDI Formats: The Terminal Operator Report and Common Carrier Report may both be filed online with the CDTFA in the IRS EDI format. EDI X12 v.4030 is ANSI ASC X12 Standards Release Version 4030. Files containing only California data may be submitted using this format as described in the Motor Fuels FLT and EDI Filing Guide. Files submitted to the CDTFA in this format must meet the requirements as published by the IRS.
Flat file is the text file format standard developed by the CDTFA. Files may be submitted using this format as described in the Motor Fuels Flat (FLT) and EDI Filing Guide in the section, FLT under the heading, CDTFA FLT (Flat file) Specifications.
If you file CDTFA-770-DVW, Diesel Fuel Tax Claim for Refund – Sales to Ultimate Purchasers online, you must also file the required CDTFA-770-DV, Diesel Fuel Ultimate Vendor Report/Claim for Refund online.
Online Tax Form Filing
To file CDTFA-501-DB, Exempt Bus Operator Diesel Fuel Tax Return and CDTFA-501-DG, Government Entity Diesel Fuel Tax Return online, you will enter values for the face of the return. For the CDTFA-501-DB, Exempt Bus Operator Diesel Fuel Tax Return, you will also attach the CDTFA-501-DB2A, Receipt Schedule. You can save a blank copy of Schedule DB2A for future use so you won’t need to download it each time you file.
Valid Transmission Methods
The CDTFA will only accept tax forms in acceptable formats transmitted via the Internet. Files formatted in XML, Excel, Word, or other format not identified as accepted by the CDTFA will not be accepted. No magnetic tape filing or data stored on a compact disc will be accepted.
You may develop your own filing solution or purchase off-the-shelf file translation software for preparation of your tax information. The CDTFA is not responsible for software-related problems. All software problems should be directed to the vendor from whom the software was purchased.
Refer to the chart below to view available industry guides for the various motor fuels tax account types. The guides include links to the various tax forms, schedules and further information.
|Account Program||Industry Guide|
|Aircraft Jet Fuel, Diesel Fuel (except IFTA and Diesel Fuel Interstate User), and Motor Vehicle Fuel||Tax Guide for Motor Fuel Taxes|
|Alternative Fuel (Decal, Exempt Bus, User, and Vendor)||Use Fuel Tax Guide|
|IFTA and Diesel Fuel Interstate User||Tax Guide for International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and Diesel Fuel Interstate User|
Motor fuels online filing adheres to all confidentiality procedures and requirements set forth by the CDTFA. For purposes of enforcing the fuel tax laws, personal information may be disclosed to federal agencies and other state agencies. Please review CDTFA-324-GEN, Annual Privacy Notice - No Action Needed, for information on the CDTFA's confidentiality procedures and requirements.
Authorization for Electronic Transmission of Data
CDTFA-82, CDTFA, Authorization for Electronic Transmission of Data authorizes the CDTFA to communicate online matters with you via email. It is essential to successful motor fuels online filing. Submit a completed CDTFA-82, Authorization for Electronic Transmission of Data via email, fax, or mail to:Email: CDTFA Motor Fuels eFile
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
Special Taxes and Fees
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0030
Return data and payments transmitted must be received by the CDTFA in the required format and by the associated due dates in order to be considered timely. While the CDTFA strives to ensure the online filing system is available at all times, there are situations which may occur and interfere with the transmittal. It is your responsibility to file returns and make payments to the CDTFA by the required due dates. A complete listing of due dates is provided on the CDTFA's website.
If the system is unavailable or transmittals are rejected, you are still responsible for filing your return by the required due date and time. The following situations may occur which may affect the timely filing of returns and payments.
Scheduled Maintenance: The system may become unavailable while the CDTFA performs routine maintenance on the online filing system. Prior to this time, you will be notified of the time frame of the expected system outage.
Rejected Transmittals: You will be sent a confirmation of filing or an error code/message immediately once the CDTFA receives a return or payment.
You must receive a confirmation number on or before the due date and time in order for the return or payment to be considered timely. A confirmation number will not be returned for rejected transmittals. If you do not receive a confirmation number, the return and payment data must be retransmitted. A return or payment may be rejected in the case of system errors or if required information was omitted or not in the required format.
System Problems and Unscheduled Emergency Maintenance: System problems and unscheduled emergency maintenance will impact availability to our Online Services System. Known problems are indicated on our Online Services webpage. You should verify if any information was posted on the CDTFA's website before contacting the eServices Coordinator. If messages have not been posted, contact the eServices Coordinator by telephone at 1-916-323-6353, or via email at eDirect to inform the CDTFA about any system errors encountered. The CDTFA strives to ensure that all known system problems are corrected in an efficient manner.
Optional Online Filing Testing Process
Prior to using FLT or EDI to file online, you are encouraged to successfully complete certification testing. For details on online file testing, refer to the Motor Fuels FLT File and EDI Filing Guide.
How do I sign my online return?
After you complete your return, you will enter your password as part of a declaration that states it is your intention to electronically file your tax returns with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.
Can I test my file for proper syntax before I submit it?
Yes. After logging into the Online Services system, on your Home page, choose the Return Bulk File option under the I Want To heading. Then on the following screens, do these steps:
- Return File Upload – Select Validate Bulk File.
- File Validation for EDI, FLT, and XML Files – select the file type from the drop down menu. Upload your file that you would like to test by clicking the Add button.
You will receive either an error message or a message stating Files are Validated.
How will I know if the CDTFA has received my tax form?
After you successfully submit a motor fuel tax form online with the CDTFA, The Online Services Filing Record PDF file should be retained as proof of timely filing. If the status of the online filing submission indicates Filed or Processed, your filing is complete. If the status remains Processing or Pending CDTFA Processing after three (3) business days, contact the CDTFA Customer Service Center at 1-800-400-7115 (CRS:711). Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific time), except state holidays.
Can I report two-party exchange activity?
Yes, if you meet the requirements.
Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Regulations 1123 and 1125 and Diesel Fuel Tax Regulations 1420 and 1423 allow the receiving party to report and pay the tax on removals of fuel resulting from a two-party exchange.
When a two-two-party exchange transaction occurs, there are three participants in the exchange: Delivering Supplier, Receiving Supplier, and Terminal Operator. Each of these participants has a reporting requirement that must be met before there is a valid two-party exchange. Following is a summary of the requirements:
- The Delivering Supplier must report the fuel that has been disbursed in a two party exchange transaction for which they are the position holder in the terminal. The Receiving Supplier must report the receipt of fuel in a terminal as part of a two-party exchange transaction and report the tax liability for that fuel. The Terminal Operator must report the terminal disbursement on Schedule 15B Terminal Operator Disbursement by Position Holder. However, in addition to reporting the Position Holder (Delivering Supplier), the Terminal Operator must also report the Receiving Supplier as part of the transaction.
- The Delivering Supplier, Receiving Supplier, and Terminal Operator must all report the two-party exchange transaction information with the same document date, bill of lading number, fuel type, mode code, and gallons.
- For all two-party exchange transactions, the Delivering Supplier, Receiving Supplier, and Terminal Operator must all report their California motor fuels tax forms online to the CDTFA to qualify for and participate in the CDTFA's two-party exchange program. While you may be reporting online, your exchange partner or the terminal may not. You need to verify that all other participants in your two-party exchange transaction are reporting online with the CDTFA. The CDTFA provides a list of eligible two-party exchange participants. If any of the participants are not eligible, please have them contact us. The Department has several online filing options available.
- Failure to properly report the two-party exchange transaction by any participant will void the two-party exchange transaction for California fuel tax purposes and the tax liability will revert to the Delivering Supplier. Interest and penalty charges may apply.
Complete information on all the requirements for two-party exchange reporting is available in the regulations.
Am I required to mail any paper documentation after submitting my tax form?
Typically you will not be required to submit any paper documentation after filing your tax form online. The majority of motor fuels online filing participants do not send any paper with their filings. However, we may request that you provide additional or supporting documentation for your tax form, which you may be able to upload via our online services system. Staff will contact you if additional information is needed.
How can I correct or amend my return I filed online?
If you need to file replacement or add supplemental transactions to a tax form that you have already submitted you have two options:
- Populate the Purpose Transaction Type with 6R for a replacement filing and upload the new file. (Before submitting any replacement files, you are required to contact us via Email: CDTFA Motor Fuels eFile)
- Populate the Purpose Transaction Type with 6S for a supplemental filing and upload the new file.
If you need to amend an Exempt Bus Operator Diesel Fuel Tax Return or a Government Entity Diesel Fuel Tax Return that was filed online, you may do so by logging into Online Services and selecting the account and period that you want to amend. Then select File, Amend, or Print a Return. If you filed the original Exempt Bus Operator Diesel Fuel Tax Return or a Government Entity Diesel Fuel Tax Return via paper, you will need to file the amended return via paper.
Do I have to pay when I submit my return?
Both the return and payment must be submitted by the due date to avoid late penalties and/or interest charges, but they do not need to be done at the same time. You may, for example, include payment information in your online filed return or it can also be warehoused until a date specified by you.
When are the payments due?
With the exception of pre-payments, payments on motor fuel tax returns are due on the last day of the month following the period for which the tax forms report. Pre-payments, for accounts that are required to make prepayments, are due on the 15th of the month following the period for which the tax forms report.
See our Online Services page, Payments tab for complete information on making payments.
What if the due date falls on a weekend or holiday?
If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, the payment is due on the next business day. See our Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) page for complete information on making payments.
How do I make a payment?
How you make a payment depends on the payment method you have selected. See our Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) page for complete information on making electronic payments and the payment methods available.
Are electronic funds transfer (EFT) payments required for online filing participants?
A payment may be made by an online transmission separate from the return transmission, or it may be included in the online file. See our Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) page for complete information on making payments and the payment methods available.
Where can I get more information on motor fuels online filing?
For information relating to FLT and EDI filing, view our Motor Fuels FLT and EDI Filing Guide.
What information is considered confidential?
Personal information, such as a driver license number, a social security number, or a residence address, is not disclosed to the public. However, some records are subject to disclosure. These include CDTFA license or account numbers, business name and address, and license status. Also, for purposes of enforcing the fuel tax laws, personal information may be disclosed to federal agencies and other state agencies. For more information, please review CDTFA-324-OIC, Annual Privacy Notice – Information Provided to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.