Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 27 of 38

Chapter 26: Refunds

26.000 Refunds-General (VC §§42230-42235 and CRTC §10901)


If a fee and/or penalty is collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in error or in excess of the actual fees due, the person who paid the fees may receive a refund by submitting an Application for Refund (ADM 399) form to DMV by mail at the address shown on the form or online at

Refund requests must be submitted within three years from the date of payment of the fees in question. Requests received more than three years after payment of the fee(s) cannot be honored because of the statute of limitations in VC §§42231 and 42232.

Exception: Nonresident military (NRM) requests for a refund of vehicle license fees (VLF) may be accepted more than three years after payment of fees.

The following must be submitted:

  • An Application for Refund (ADM 399) form with an explanation why a refund is being requested, the fees and date paid, the amount of refund requested, and why the payment was excessive or erroneously collected by DMV.
  • Any documentation of payments claimed, such as photocopies of the front and back of a canceled check payable to DMV or receipts issued by DMV. Front and back photocopies of both checks are needed when payment was made twice for the same vehicle.
  • The current year registration card and unused sticker, if the refund will cancel the current year registration.
  • The California Certificate of Title, if a correction, such as VLF classification.
  • The California Certificate of Title, if issued, registration card, license plates, and stickers, if the entire registration is to be canceled (in other words, the vehicle should not have been registered).

A Statement of Facts (REG 256) form, explaining why items cannot be submitted if any of the items required to be submitted with the ADM 399 are missing. A duplicate fee is not charged for missing items.

The procedures below must be followed:

  • All ADM 399 forms submitted to determine if the fees are subject to refund must be reviewed and any required supporting documents are attached.

  • Do not accept ADM 399 forms if a refund is not due.

Erroneous Collection of Fees—When excessive fees are collected from a dealer due to a DMV’s error and the fees cannot be refunded by the field office, the office manager or their designee will:

  • Complete an ADM 399 stating the reason for the refund and the dealer’s desired method of reimbursement (check or credit).
  • Send the ADM 399 to:
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    PO Box 942869 MS A235
    Sacramento, CA 94269-000