Within the next week, thousands of 44th Assembly District residents in certain unincorporated areas will be receiving in the mail a new state tax bill charging property owners an additional fee for fire prevention services within the “State Responsibility Area” (SRA). The office of Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) is working to help inform residents of this new bill and the very short time window allowed to challenge or appeal an erroneous fee. People throughout the state have already reported receiving bills charging them for properties that were not located in areas of state responsibility, or for non-residential structures to which the new tax should not legally apply.
It is important that anyone who receives one of these State Fire Tax bills take action immediately. Recipients only have 30 days from the date that the bill was mailed if they wish to appeal the tax.
California residents who receive one of these tax bills from the state must pay it within 30 days. Even if the bill is sent in error, the law was written in such a way to require that property owners first pay the bill before they challenge it through appeal process. Failure to pay the fire tax can result in additional late penalties and interest.
The State of California has created a website at firepreventionfee.org with more information about the tax and procedures for appeals. There are also a number of other websites that provide additional useful information including State Board of Equalization member George Runner’s website at calfirefee.com.
It is worth noting that the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit in Oct asserting that this fee is an unlawful tax.