Payments & Refunds

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You can request refunds for vehicle/vessel registration, driver license and ID cards, special certificates, financial responsibility (insurance), and other fees and/or penalties collected by DMV. DMV issues refunds in cases where you accidentally paid the wrong fee, or when a fee wasn’t required but you paid one. California Vehicle Code (CVC) §42231 and California Revenue and Taxation Code (CRTC) §10901

Refunds

You may request a refund of fees and/or penalties that are excessive, assessed in error, or not legally due as provided under CVC §42231 and/or CRTC §10901.

The following circumstances may qualify you for a refund of fees paid:

  • The renewal fees were paid after the vehicle was sold.
  • The vehicle was wrecked, junked, salvaged, or stolen before the first day of the new registration period.
  • You are nonresident military personnel or a nonresident spouse and paid the vehicle license fee in error.
  • The vehicle left California before the first day of the new registration period.
  • You decide before the first day of the new registration period that the vehicle will not be operated and file a Planned Non-Operation Certification (REG 102) form. The planned non-operation (PNO) fee will be deducted from your refund.

Simple Refunds Online Service

This online service allows you to:

  • Request a refund of vehicle/vessel license fees charged for late payment and you know that payment was made on time.
  • Request a refund of vehicle/vessel license fees for a vehicle/vessel that left California before the registration expired and was registered in another state.
  • Request a refund of reissue fees because an action that required the fee has been dismissed and the dismissal has been reported to DMV by the court.

If you do not meet the above criteria, please print and mail the Application for Refund (ADM 399) form along with required documentation.

To use the simple refunds online service, click the button below and complete the Applicant Information in boxes 1 through 11 and box 14. Once you have entered all the required information, click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the page.

*You may receive correspondence from DMV if it is determined that supporting documentation is required (e.g. copy of canceled check).

Dishonored Payments FAQs

You have two payment options:

Paying By Mail

  • Send a cashier’s check or money order payable to DMV.
    • Do not mail cash. Do not send a personal check or credit card payment information. Dishonored checks cannot be paid by personal check or credit card.
  • Write your account number on the front of your payment.
    • Your account number is the ten-digit number located in the upper right hand corner of the Demand for Payment letter.

Mail your payment and a copy of the Demand for Payment letter to:

DMV
Revenue Services Support Unit
Mail Station C140
PO Box 825341
Sacramento, CA 94232-5341

Paying in Person at a DMV Office

Bring with you:

  • Cash, or an ATM/Debit card, or a cashier’s check or money order made payable to DMV.
    • Dishonored checks cannot be paid by personal check or credit card.
  • A copy of the Demand for Payment letter. If the Demand for Payment letter is lost and the dishonored check was for your:
    • Vehicle: Bring your vehicle license plate number.
    • Driver license: Bring your driver license.
    • Identification card: Bring your identification card.

No, there is no online option for dishonored check payments.

Yes; however, partial payments will not stop the collection action.

The amount requested in the letter includes:

  • The face amount of the original check.
  • A dishonored check service fee.
    • A payment is considered dishonored and the dishonored check service fee is due if, for any reason, DMV is unable to deduct funds from your account.
  • The maximum late penalties for the vehicle’s registration, if the dishonored check was for vehicle registration.
    • The registration fees are subject to penalties if the dishonored check remains unpaid after the vehicle’s registration expiration date, regardless of when you received the dishonored check Demand for Payment letter.

If repayment of the total amount due (as stated in the Demand for Payment letter) is mailed (postmarked) to DMV:

  • Before the registration expiration date, the registration penalties will be refunded to you.
  • After the registration expiration date, but within 30 days of the expiration date, a portion of the penalty fees may be refunded to you.

If DMV is unable to deduct funds from your account because of a bank error, you must submit a letter from the bank explaining their error. The letter must have the bank’s letterhead, the check number, and the dollar amount of the check. Send all of the following to the Revenue Service Support Unit:

  • The bank’s letter.
  • A money order or cashiers check made payable to DMV for the total amount due as stated in the Demand for Payment letter.
  • Your full name.
  • The dishonored check account number (located in upper right corner of demand letter).
  • The vehicle license plate number (if the check was for a vehicle).
  • Your driver license number or identification card number (if the check was for a driver license or identification card).

Mail to:
DMV
Revenue Services Support Unit
Mail Station C140
PO Box 825341
Sacramento, CA 94232-5341

DMV will review the bank’s letter to determine if the dishonored check fee may be refunded. If the dishonored check was for vehicle registration, DMV will also review to determine if the registration penalties may be fully or partially refunded.

If you received a notification of a dishonored check from DMV and you did not submit the check payment and you are not the registered owner of the vehicle indicated in the letter (or are not the person the driver license or identification card was issued to), provide a written explanation and mail to:

DMV
Revenue Services Support Unit
Mail Station C140
PO Box 825341
Sacramento, CA 94232-5341

Include copies of any papers that prove your claim. DMV will research your claim and contact you with the outcome. You may also call the Revenue Services Support Unit at (916) 657-8101 for additional information.

You are responsible for the payment of the fees and any resulting penalties. If a check was written for you by someone other than yourself and submitted to DMV to pay for your driver license, identification card, or your vehicle’s registration and the check was returned by the bank (dishonored), the payment remains your responsibility.

Once your payment is processed and returned by the bank, DMV will automatically send you a Demand for Payment letter and will be unable to stop the dishonored check from occurring. However, if you are able to pay your fees (with another payment method) before your vehicle registration expires, you may be able to avoid penalties. The dishonored check service fee will still be due.

Submit your registration payment as soon as possible and be sure to retain the receipt. When you receive the dishonored check Demand for Payment letter, submit the letter, a money order or cashiers check for the dishonored check service fee, and a copy of your repayment receipt to:

DMV
Revenue Services Support Unit
Mail Station C140
PO Box 825341
Sacramento, CA 94232-5341

If you have received a Demand for Payment letter, and full payment was submitted within the last 30 days, please disregard the letter. The Demand for Payment letters are printed in advance and do not reflect recent payments.

Contact the Driver Safety Mandatory Action Unit at (916) 657-6525 to ask about the cancellation status of your driver license or identification card.

As a courtesy to our customers, the registration card/sticker or driver license/identification card is mailed before the e-check information is verified by the bank. If any of the e-check information submitted to DMV is incorrect, DMV will not be able to locate your account and your bank will not show an inquiry or withdrawal. If the e-check cannot be verified by the bank, it becomes a non-payment and a dishonored check account is created.

When making a payment using an e-check, you must enter your checking account number and your bank routing number. Common mistakes that prevent e-checks from being verified are:

  • Using a deposit slip to key the routing number.
  • Including a check number with the account number.
  • Entering credit card information in the check field.

During the online e-check transaction, the department advises customers that if DMV cannot deduct the payment from your account for any reason, a service fee will be charged. If the e-check is for vehicle registration, you will also be subject to late registration payment penalties.

An e-check payment is an electronic way of writing a personal check. DMV uses your bank’s routing and account numbers to obtain payment from your bank. E-check payments are verified with your bank after you finish your DMV transaction. With debit or credit card payments, DMV obtains a payment authorization before you finish the DMV transaction.

Failure to Pay Violations FAQs

Since Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Assembly Bill 103 (AB 103) into law on June 27, 2017, DMV no longer accepts FTP notices from courts and cannot suspend or withhold a driver license for that reason.

No. If you fail to appear in court for a ticket, the court can still send an FTA notification to DMV, and DMV can suspend your driving privilege for that reason.

Yes.

If you fail to pay a ticket fine or court fees, the DMV will not suspend or withhold your driver license or make a notation on your driver record. However, you are still obligated to pay your fines or fees to the court.

No. The DMV has not been noting FTP on driver records since June 27, 2017, and has removed all past FTP notations from driver records. This applies to all drivers in the DMV database.

The DMV removed FTP suspensions that occurred before June 27, 2017, from all driver records.

The DMV sent notifications to customers who had an FTP suspension removed during spring 2018. If you do not receive a notification, you may want to get a copy of your driver record (see Question 8) to confirm the suspension removal.

Some customers still might have a suspended license for other reasons.

There are three ways to request a copy of your driver record:

The DMV will not restore your driving privilege until you resolve the other suspensions or holds. Some customers receiving the FTP removal notification might still have a suspended license for other reasons, and this action will not resolve those suspensions. For example, a DUI-related suspension will not be affected by this change.

To find out if you have other suspensions or holds on your driver record, you can request a copy online, by mail, or at a DMV field office. DMV will charge a reissue fee for restoring driving privilege for customers with suspensions other than an FTP.

No action should be necessary for customers. DMV removed FTP suspensions and restored driving privileges to eligible Californians. However, if you believe you are eligible and your license is still suspended for an FTP, you can contact DMV by calling 1-800-777-0133.

Also make sure DMV has your correct address. If you have moved, you can update your address online.

If you have a valid driver license, you can legally drive without any further steps.

If your license has expired or you are no longer in possession of it, you must visit a DMV field office to apply for a renewal or a duplicate, and pay the corresponding fee. Vision and/or knowledge tests might be required.

If you are unsure if you have other suspensions on your record, contact DMV by calling 1-800-777-0133 or request a copy of your driver record to verify that DMV restored your driving privilege.

No. All credit/debit card transactions are charged a non-refundable service fee from the company processing the credit/debit card transaction for DMV.

You can submit an ADM 399 form within three years after the payment was made. DMV is not able to process an ADM 399 form beyond this due to the statute of limitations.

Exception: Nonresident military (NRM) and members of a force/civilian component of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) who are not citizens of the United States (U.S.) may request a refund of the vehicle license fee (VLF) and/or transportation improvement fee (TIF) more than three years after payment of fees.

You will receive your refund, or a request for more information, from DMV in approximately 30 days from the date of your refund application.

No.

No.

No. A refund is not due because the vehicle/vessel was currently registered at the time of sale. The vehicle registration fees are tied to the vehicle, not the vehicle owner.

Yes. Registration fees paid after the sale of a vehicle/vessel are refundable. 

  • For example, if you sold your vehicle July 1st, but accidentally paid the registration fees on July 25th, for the registration fees due on July 31st, you are entitled a refund.

    To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:
  • A completed and signed Application for Refund (ADM 399)
  • A completed and signed Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138) OR a copy of the confirmation page from DMV’s online Notice of Release of Liability
  • The registration card/certificate of number AND the unused sticker.
    • If you don’t have your registration card/certificate of number and/or the unused sticker, complete a Statement of Facts (REG 256) to explain why the item(s) can’t be returned.

Yes. Planned Non-Operation (PNO) refunds can be requested up to 90 days after registration period starts if the vehicle was not operated. The PNO fee will be subtracted from the refund amount by DMV.

This does not apply to vessels or coach trailers as they can’t be placed on a PNO status.

To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:

To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:

  • A completed and signed Application for Refund (ADM 399)
  • A copy of your DMV receipts showing that you paid twice OR
  • Proof of double-payment:
    • If you paid by check(s), include a copy of the front and back of the cancelled check(s).
    • If you paid by credit/debit card, a copy of the statement(s) with the DMV transaction(s) highlighted.

To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:

Yes. To get your refund, you will need to send the following to DMV:

Yes, if the registration fees were paid after the vehicle was returned. 

For example, if you returned your vehicle July 1st, but paid the registration fees on July 25th, for the registration fees due on July 31st, you are entitled a refund.

To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:

Yes. To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:

  • A completed and signed Application for Refund (ADM 399)
  • Proof that your vehicle was registered in another state before your vehicle’s California registration expired, such as a copy of your vehicle’s current registration in the other state.
  • Your California registration card, sticker, and license plates, if applicable.
    • If you don’t have your registration card, license plates and/or the unused sticker, complete a Statement of Facts (REG 256) to explain why the item(s) can’t be returned.

Yes, for certain fees. The Vehicle License Fee (VLF) and the Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF) are refundable for nonresident military personnel (NRM) and members of a force/civilian component of the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) who are not U.S. citizens. You may request a refund more than three years after payment of fees.

To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:

This does not apply to vessels and coach trailers. This refund is for the VLF and TIF only.

Military personnel who are residents of California but deployed to a location outside the state may qualify for a renewal penalty waiver. Only penalties incurred during deployment may be waived.

To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:

When the disabled veteran exemption has been established, the registration renewal fees paid for the current year are refundable. The exemption is for one vehicle.

To get your refund, you will need to submit the following to DMV:

  • A completed and signed Application for Refund (ADM 399)
    • In the ‘Other’ field, list the reason for the refund request as the “disabled veteran fee exemption”.

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

No, not from DMV. For questions about use tax refunds, contact the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) at 1-800-400-7115.

You will need to contact the court(s) or parking/toll agency(ies) that issued the citation(s).

Yes, if the renewal fees were paid and the vehicle was wrecked, junked or stolen before the renewed registration period.

To get your refund, you will need to send the following to DMV:

No.

No. The driver license application fees can’t be refunded.

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

You will need to contact DMV at 1-916-229-3126 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday Pacific Time.

You will need to contact DMV at 1-916-229-3128 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday Pacific Time.

Reissue Fees

A reissue fee is a fee paid to reinstate a driving privilege which has been suspended or revoked.

The following is a list of reissue fees:

  • $15 to add a court restriction
  • $20 to remove a driver license restriction
  • $24 drug suspension
  • $55 reissue fee (the most common type of reissue fee)
    • Anyone who had their license suspended or revoked has to pay an administrative fee of $55 to have their license reissued.
  • $100 preliminary alcohol screening (PAS)
  • $100 Admin Per Se (APS)
  • $85 APS (partial payment of the $100 APS fee)
  • $45 APS (partial payment of the $100 APS fee)

Refund of Vehicle License Fee (VLF) on Total Loss Vehicles

California law provides for a prorated refund of the VLF (in lieu of property tax) portion of the registration fees paid when your vehicle becomes:

  • An Unrecovered Total Loss- A vehicle subject to registration which was stolen and not recovered within 60 days after the police report date. The vehicle must be transferred to the individual or company (insurance company, etc.) who paid you for the loss of your vehicle (California Revenue and Taxation Code (CRTC) §10902).
  • A Constructive Total Loss- A vehicle which was wrecked, destroyed, or damaged to such extent that the owner, or the insurance company, considers it uneconomical to repair the vehicle and because of this, the vehicle is not repaired by or for the person who owned the vehicle per California Vehicle Code (CVC) §544. A Salvage Certificate must be issued for this vehicle before a refund request will be processed (per CVC §11515 and CRTC §10902).
  • A Nonrepairable- A vehicle with no value except as a source of parts or scrap metal, or was found completely stripped after theft, or was completely burned (per CVC §431). A Nonrepairable Certificate must be issued for this vehicle before a refund will be processed.

Who is Eligible for a Refund?

The owner of the salvage vehicle may request a refund of the prorated VLF. The owner of the salvage vehicle can usually be determined as follows:

  • The insurance company is the owner if you received a settlement for your loss and possession of the salvaged vehicle is retained by an insurance provider or their agent.
  • You are the owner if you retained the salvaged vehicle following a determination by your insurance provider that your vehicle is uneconomical to repair and:
    • No repairs are initiated by you or in your behalf, and
    • You applied for a Salvage Certificate or Non-repairable Certificate.

If you are not sure that the VLF refund was included as part of your settlement you should contact your insurance provider for verification. DMV does not have this information. Persons who were cited for violations of CVC §§23152, 23153, or 23103 as specified in §23103.5 (sections related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), incidental to the loss, are not eligible for this refund.

How is the Refund Amount Determined?

The amount of the VLF refund is based on one-twelfth of the annual VLF for each full month that remains until the vehicle registration expires. The registration fee, weight fee and miscellaneous fees are not subject to refund. A total loss vehicle partial VLF refund service fee will be deducted from the refund. If the service fee is more than the amount of VLF subject to refund, no refund will be issued.

How do I Request a Refund?

Complete an Application for Vehicle License Refund (REG 65) form as follows.

  • Part A- For an unrecovered total loss vehicle (stolen).
  • Part B- For a constructive total loss or non-repairable vehicle (wrecked, destroyed, or damaged by a single event).

You must have a Salvage Certificate or Non-repairable Certificate prior to submitting a REG 65 form. Mail the completed REG 65 to the address shown on the form.

For Salvage Certificate or Non-repairable Certificate information see the brochure, How to Obtain a Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (HTVR) 16.

All refund checks will be issued from DMV Headquarters in Sacramento.