Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



How long do I have to submit an application for refund?

You can submit an application for refund within three years after the payment was made. The department is not able to process an application for refund beyond this due to the statute of limitations.

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How long does it take after filing my refund request to receive my refund check or receive correspondence about my refund request?

You will be notified within 30 days from the date of receipt of your application of the status of your refund. If additional items are needed, you will be notified by mail.

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I paid my vehicle/vessel registration fees prior to selling the vehicle/vessel? Can these fees be refunded?

No. A refund is not due as the vehicle/vessel is considered currently registered at the time of sale.


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If I paid renewal fees for a vehicle/vessel I no longer own, can these fees be refunded to me?

Yes, if the renewal fees were paid after the vehicle/vessel was sold.

You will need to submit:


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Can I get a refund of registration renewal fees on a vehicle if I decide before the new registration year that the vehicle will not be operated?

Yes. You will need to:

The Planned Non-Operation (PNO) fee will be subtracted from the refund amount by DMV.

This does not apply to vessels. Vessel renewal fees must be paid whether or not the vessel is being operated.

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I paid registration renewal fees and filed a Certificate of Non-Operation within 90 days of the vehicle expiration date. Can I get a refund of the renewal fees?

Yes. You will need to return the registration card, unused sticker or Statement of Facts stating what happened to the registration card/sticker, with an Application for Refund completed in full.

Vessel renewal fees must be paid whether or not the vessel is being operated. Planned Non-Operation is not available for vessels.

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The registration fees for my vehicle were paid twice. How do I request a refund?

You will need to submit a completed Application for Refund, and include proof of double payment in the form of canceled checks (or copies of the front and back of the canceled checks) or receipts from the department.

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I paid the vehicle/vessel registration fees for my vehicle and operated the vehicle for two weeks into the new registration year. I will no longer operate this vehicle/vessel. Can the registration fees I paid be refunded?

No. The fees paid for registering a vehicle or vessel can not be refunded once the vehicle is operated into the new registration year.

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I submitted my vehicle/vessel registration fees on time, but was billed and paid late fees. How do I request a refund?

You need to submit proof of when payment was made or a Statement of Facts stating fees were paid and mailed prior to the expiration date. You will also need to complete an Application for Refund of late vehicle/vessel registration fees.


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I bought a vehicle, paid renewal vehicle/vessel registration fees, then returned the vehicle/vessel to the owner. Can the renewal fees paid be returned to me?

You need to complete a Statement of Facts indicating when renewal fees were paid, and submit with an Application for Refund.
Note: If fees paid were due, the refund will be denied. Fees remain with the vehicle, not the person paying the fees.

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I did not receive my vehicle/vessel registration renewal notice. When I paid my vehicle/vessel registration renewal fees I was billed for late fees. Can I get a refund for the late fees, if I did not receive a renewal notice?

Yes. You need to complete an Application for Refund, indicating you did not receive a vehicle/vessel registration renewal notice.


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Can nonresident military personnel, who paid full California vehicle registration renewal fees, submit a refund application for the fees paid?

Yes. You will need to complete and sign a Nonresident Military Exemption Statement (REG 5045) form and return it with a completed Application for Refund.
Note: If the refund is for the current registration year, the registration certificate must also be surrendered. If a Certificate of Ownership (title) has been issued, it must be submitted for correction to indicate the "Nonresident Military" (NRM) status.

This does not apply to vessels. This refund is for vehicle license fees.


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May a person other than the registered owner request a refund of fees?

Yes. Proof of payment and a Statement of Facts (Reg 256) must be submitted. The REG 256 must be completed by the registered owner of record authorizing the department to refund fees to the person requesting the refund.

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Can I receive a refund when substitute or duplicate documents, plates, or stickers are paid for and then the originals are found?

No. A refund is not due when items are voluntarily requested.

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Can a refund application be submitted when the vehicle/vessel registration fees are paid by a dealer and the vehicle/vessel is delivered out of state?

Yes. You must submit a completed Application for Refund, and surrender:

  • the Certificate of Ownership (title),
  • registration card,
  • license plates,
  • stickers, and
  • window copy of report of sale or state the report of sale was submitted to the department at the time of sale.

You must also submit a Statement of Facts from the selling dealer indicating how the vehicle was moved from the dealership to the purchaser.

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Can renewal fees be refunded when the vehicle/vessel leaves California before the registration renewal period begins?

Yes. You will need to submit the registration card/certificate of number and unused sticker or a Statement of Facts indicating what happened to the registration card/certificate of number and sticker, and a completed Application for Refund.

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I have applied for a commercial driver license and have decided that I do not want to complete the application process. Can I get a refund of the application fees paid?

No. The commercial driver license application fees can not be refunded.

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I purchased a used vehicle/vessel but returned it shortly after taking delivery. I paid DMV fees before returning the vehicle/vessel. A portion of the fees paid to DMV included "use tax." Can my refund request include the use tax that I paid?

You will need to contact the State Board of Equalization for the use tax refund.

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The vehicle registration fees that I paid DMV included fees for several parking tickets. I have evidence that some of the parking tickets had already been paid. How do I get these fees refunded?

You must contact the court(s) that issued the ticket(s).

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I am requesting a portion of the vehicle license fees I paid be returned to me because my vehicle has been salvaged. What do I do?

You will need to contact DMV for requirements at 1-800-777-0133 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, Pacific Time.

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Can I apply for a refund if my vehicle/vessel was wrecked, junked, salvaged, or stolen before the registration renewal period?

Yes. You will need to submit:

  • the registration card/certificate of number,
  • the unused sticker or a Statement of Facts indicating what happened to the registration card/certificate of number and sticker,
  • a copy of the police report, insurance letter of settlement claim or statement from the dismantler if necessary, and
  • a completed Application for Refund.
 

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