Do I Qualify for a Refund?

You may request a refund of fees and/or penalties that are excessive, assessed in error, or not legally due as provided under California Vehicle Code §42231 and/or Revenue and Taxation Code §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 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 nonoperation (PNO) fee will be deducted from your refund.

Is There a Time Limit for Requesting a Refund?

You must make your request for a refund within three years after making a payment. Refund requests cannot be honored beyond this period.

What is Proof of Payment?

Proof of payment may be a:

  • Registration card and sticker number.
  • Photocopy of the front and back of a cancelled check.
  • Receipt issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or auto club.

How do I Apply for a Refund?

Print, complete and mail the Application for Refund (ADM 399) along with proof of payment to the address on the form. See additional information on Payments and Refunds.

Are There Additional Requirements for Refunds?

To further substantiate a refund request, you may be asked to submit any of the following:

  • The registration card(s) and sticker(s) for the year(s) fees are to be refunded.
  • Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138) form giving the purchaser’s name and address and the date of sale.
  • The California Certificate of Title issued for the vehicle/vessel for which fees are being refunded (if a change in the vehicle/vessel description or classification is involved).
  • Nonresident Military (NRM) Exemption Statement (REG 5045) form. You and your nonresident spouse may qualify for a nonresident military exemption if your military duty station is located in California, your vehicle is not used in a trade or business, and you and/or your spouse are a resident of another state.

When Will a Refund not Be Issued?

A refund will not be issued in the following situations:

  • Registration fees:
    • Paid prior to the sale of the vehicle.
    • Paid on a vehicle that was operated during the registration period for which renewal fees were paid.
    • Covering a portion of the registration year.
  • Fees were paid for replacement license plates, certificates, and/or stickers, and the original(s) were located. A refund cannot be issued when items are voluntarily requested and issued.
  • Parking fees paid both to the parking agency and DMV. You must contact the issuing parking agency for a refund.
  • Excess use tax paid or use tax paid in error. You must contact the:

California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA)
Consumer Use Tax Section MIC: 37
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0037

  • Driver license or identification (DL/ID) card fee(s), if you decide you do not want the DL/ID card after making the payment.

When Will I Receive a Refund Check?

Usually, you will receive a refund check, or be notified of the refund request status, within 30 days from the date the application was received by DMV.

What If your application for Refund is Denied?

If you receive a letter stating that your refund was denied and you want to appeal the decision, you must do so in writing. Mail the appeal to:

PO Box 942869, MS A235
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001