There are four basic rules about the fees a notary public can charge.
First, there are maximum fees allowed by law that a notary public can charge. A notary public cannot charge more than those maximum fees. (California Government Code section 8211.)
Second, except for notaries public employed for and on behalf of a state or county public agency, a notary public is not required to charge a fee at all. A notary public could decide, for example, not to charge a fee for completing a certificate of acknowledgment or providing a photostatic copy of his or her journal pages. Also, a notary public’s employer could make it a condition of employment that the notary public charges no fee for notarial services.
Third, whether or not a notary public charges a fee, the notary public must record the actual amount charged in the notary public’s sequential journal, including writing zero to indicate no fee was charged. In other words, a number or zero must be reflected in the notary public’s journal to complete the record for each notarial act. (California Government Code section 8206(a).)
Fourth, no fee is prescribed for notaries public employed by a financial institution who can perform a protest in the course and scope of their employment since it is part of the notary public’s service to the financial institution. (California Government Code sections 8205(a)(1), 8208 and 8211; California Commercial Code section 3505.)
The maximum fees a notary public may charge are:
If a notary public is appointed to act for and on behalf of a state or county public agency as an employee of the agency, fees must be charged for all services and those fees must be remitted or turned over to the employing agency. (California Government Code sections 6100 and 8202.5.) The actual fee charged must be entered in the notary public’s sequential journal. (California Government Code section 8206(a).)
There are very specific times when a notary public is prohibited from charging a fee: