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Salinas
June 19, 2024

New California law puts charge in lead-acid battery sales

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CALIFORNIA – Beginning April 1, sales of lead-acid batteries are now subject to two $1 fees. Manufacturers will pay a $1 fee for every lead-acid battery sold to a retailer, wholesaler, distributor or other person for retail sale in California. Consumers will pay a $1 fee on each purchase of a replacement lead-acid battery.

As signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act of 2016 requires retailers to register, collect, and remit the fee to the Board of Equalization (BOE); and manufacturers to register and remit the fee to the BOE. Manufacturers who are considered retailers are required to collect the $1 California battery fee as well as pay the $1 manufacturer battery fee. Retailers who purchase and import lead-acid batteries from a manufacturer who is not subject to the jurisdiction of California must pay the $1 manufacturer battery fee.

A lead-acid battery — the type commonly found in vehicles — is any battery that weighs more than five kilograms (11 pounds), is composed primarily of both lead and sulfuric acid and has a capacity of six or more volts. Retailers will charge a refundable deposit, subject to sales tax, when a consumer purchases a replacement lead-acid battery and does not simultaneously provide a used lead-acid battery to the dealer.

The fee is expected to generate $26 million annually. Revenues collected will be deposited into the Lead-Acid Battery Cleanup Fund, where they will be used to investigate, evaluate, clean up, remediate, remove, monitor, or otherwise respond to any area in the state that may have been contaminated by the operation of a lead-acid battery recycling facility.

Beginning April 1, 2022, manufacturers will no longer be required to collect and remit the $1 fee. Instead, consumers will pay a $2 fee upon purchase of a replacement lead-acid battery.

More information can be found on the Lead Acid Battery Fee Guide at boe.ca.gov/industry/lead-acid_battery_fees.html.

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