The State of California has begun mailing bills to rural property owners for fire prevention.
If you own habitable property in CalFire’s jurisdiction (known as the State Responsibility Area), you are affected. The fee has been billed annually since 2012.
The fee is based on $150 per habitable structure on your property, adjusted for inflation. On each bill there should be a $35 credit if you already pay a special tax or assessment to a local fire protection agency.
This new annual fee was imposed by the Legislature (all Democrats in favor, all Republicans opposed) at the request of Governor Brown. It is being collected by the Board of Equalization and administered by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE DUE DATE. You may have fewer than 30 days to pay. If you are late, there is a 10% penalty, plus interest. The fee is a lien on your property, and failure to pay can result in foreclosure.
Challenging the Fee and Claiming a Refund
We at the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association believe this fee is really an illegal tax under Proposition 13. We plan to challenge the constitutionality of this tax in court. To learn how to protest the tax and claim a refund, click here.