California Sales Tax

On this page you will find handy sales and use tax information about California.

How to use this page:

We’ve pulled in the information from all our Charts for a consolidated view by state.  Here you can see the sales tax rates and if the state has remote seller nexus rules. You can also see any sales tax holidays or amnesty programs that may exist, though these do not apply to all states.

Below the chart you can find any News & Tip item we have published that relates to California that you can filter by topic. This will help you get informed on current and past legislation that has passed in the state.

State Rate

7.250% Note that the true California state sales tax rate is 6%.  There is a statewide county tax of 1.25% and therefore, the lowest rate anywhere in California is 7.25%.  We have listed the combined state/county rate as the state rate to eliminate confusion.

Range of Local Rates

0% – 3.25%

Local Rates Apply to Use Tax

Yes

CLICK-THROUGH NEXUS

9/15/2012 – repealed effective 4/1/2019

AFFILIATE NEXUS

9/15/2012 – repealed effective 4/1/2019

ECONOMIC NEXUS

4/1/2019see state notice

MARKETPLACE NEXUS

10/1/2019

Status

Inactive

Amnesty Filing Dates

September 1, 2013 - December 2, 2013

Go to City of Los Angeles Amnesty Page
AMNESTY INCLUSION PERIODS

TAX TYPES AND CONDITIONS

The following City of Los Angeles Taxes: Business, Utility Users Taxes (Telephone, Electricity, Gas), Commercial Tenant’s Occupancy, Transient Occupancy, and Parking Occupancy Taxes.

AMNESTY BENEFITS

Waiver of penalties.

Status

Inactive

Amnesty Filing Dates

October 4, 2011 - October 3, 2012

Go to City of Los Angeles Amnesty Page
AMNESTY INCLUSION PERIODS

From October 4, 2011 through October 3, 2012, look-back period for prior City of Los Angeles Business Taxes is three years. Beginning October 4, 2012, the period is limited to five years.

TAX TYPES AND CONDITIONS

City of Los Angeles Business Tax.

AMNESTY BENEFITS

Penalties on late payment of taxes may be waived.

Status

Inactive

Amnesty Filing Dates

Voluntary registration with the CDTFA and filing by September 25, 2019

Go to California Amnesty Page
AMNESTY INCLUSION PERIODS

A “qualifying retailer” will not be assessed tax by the CDTFA on sales made prior to April 1, 2016 and will be relieved of penalties for sales made for the period April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019.

TAX TYPES AND CONDITIONS

Sales and use tax. Effective June 27, 2019, a “qualifying retailer” meets all of the following conditions:

• The retailer is not registered or has not registered with the CDTFA prior to December 1, 2018
• The retailer had not filed sales or use tax returns or made sales or use tax payments prior to being contacted by the CDTFA
• The retailer voluntarily registers with the CDTFA, and by September 25, 2019, files completed tax returns for all tax reporting periods on and after April 1, 2016, and pays in full the taxes due or applies for an installment payment agreement, but only if final payment under the terms of the agreement is paid no later than December 31, 2021
• The retailer is or was engaged in business in California solely because the retailer used a marketplace facilitator to facilitate sales for delivery in California and the marketplace facilitator stored the retailer’s inventory in this state

AMNESTY BENEFITS

Limited lookback and waiver of penalties for sales made for the period April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019.

Administration Information
Streamlined Sales Tax Status

Advisory State

NUMBER OF TAXING AUTHORITIES

323 Sales Tax Jurisdictions

HOME RULE AUTHORITIES

N/A

Sales Tax Sourcing (Intrastate)

Origin *California is mixed. State, county, and city taxes are based on the origin, but district taxes are based on the destination (the buyer)

Sales Tax Return Due Date

Last day of the month following the reporting period

Exemption Information
RESALE CERTIFICATE

California Resale Certificate

TYPES OF EXEMPTIONS

California has many exemptions and exclusions, they can best be classified by categories as follows: Necessities of Life (food, health and housing related); General Public Benefit (alternative energy, pollution control, veteran vendors, etc.); Industry Based (transportation, entertainment, petroleum, manufactured housing, leasing); Other (electric power generation & distribution; printed materials and sales messages; space flight, sales of certain food plants and seeds, and sales of prescription medicine, various others).

 

Entity types of exemptions: General Public Benefit (museums and public arts; nonprofit, religious & educational; veterans organizations); Other (sales to the US Government)

 

California Exemption Certificate Forms

History & Fun Facts
HISTORY

  • California has the highest presumed state-level sales tax rate, at 7.25 percent which is actually made up of a 6.25% state rate and a state-wide 1% county rate. In addition, some cities and many special purposes authorities can impose sales tax.
  • As of July 1, 2017, the California Board of Equalization transferred the bulk of its tax duties to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) and the Office of Tax Appeals.

FUN FACTS
  • Every quarter, the CDTFA posts the Top 500 Sales & Use Tax Delinquencies in California, including an interactive map. Please, don’t be shamed into compliance in this way.
  • Beware of California’s definition and taxation of “fixtures.” This creates a lot of audit issues for construction and service providers.
  • Some exemptions exist in an attempt to promote certain types of consumer choices. For example, there is an exemption for “fresh,” but not prepared, foodstuffs.

California Enacts Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Qualified Hybrid and Zero-Emission Vehicles

Effective January 1, 2023, California has enacted a sales and use tax exemption for qualified motor vehicles (including designated hybrid and zero-emission vehicles) sold to qualified buyers.

State Notices & Resources for Remote Sellers

Use this state by state guide to find each state\’s initial guidance on how to proceed post-Wayfair, state resources such as FAQs, and any state activity such as going through a legislative process that impacts remote sellers.

California Court Dismisses Amazon Seller Lawsuit against California Department of Tax and Fee Administration

An e-commerce trade group’s attempt to stop California from pursuing back sales taxes from sellers with inventory housed at in-state Amazon fulfillment centers was dismissed.

California Expands Sales Tax Exemption to Include Electric Power

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration has amended their Code of Regulations to expand their partial sales and use tax exemption for research and development to include the production, storage, and distribution of electric power.

California Clarifies Sales Tax for Mixed Newspaper Subscriptions

California now requires publishers to determine if their newspaper sales are considered mixed newspaper subscriptions due to its effect on sales tax.

Economic Nexus State by State Chart

Key information such as effective dates, thresholds, and includable sales for out-of-state sellers making sales into states that have enacted economic nexus legislation both before and after the South Dakota v. Wayfair Supreme Court decision.

California State Court Rules that Local Video Service Provider Fees Do Not Apply to Streaming Video Providers

The California court made their decision in line with Nevada’s similar case which ruled that streaming video providers are not subject to local franchise fees.

California Imposes New Marketplace Facilitator Requirements

A new law has extended the California marketplace facilitator and marketplace seller requirements to incorporate California’s “Fee Collection Procedures Law.”

Western State Sales Tax Updates

Explore some important sales tax updates coming out of Western states so you can get caught up and make any changes as necessary to keep your company compliant.

California Clarifies Relationship Between Marketplace Sales and Drop Shipments

California’s Department of Tax and Fee Administration proposed amendments to their regulations that clarify that marketplace sales are not drop shipments.

Elective Ultrasound Service Found Taxable in California

California determined that the true object of a taxpayer’s prenatal imaging business was the images captured, not the ultrasound service.

California Offers COVID-19 Relief for Small Business Owners

California is providing immediate tax relief for small business owners due to the impact of COVID-19.

Los Angeles Offers Tax Amnesty Program on Numerous Taxes

The Los Angeles Office of Finance is administering a Tax Penalty Amnesty Program from October 1, 2020 to December 17, 2020.

California Superior Court Bars CDTFA from Applying Sales Tax Regulation to Certain Sales of Bundled Cell Phones

A California Court barred the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration from applying a sales tax regulation to bundled sales of cellular telephones and service by carrier-retailers.

California Disallows Resale Exemption for Contractor Who Used Purchased Materials

A construction contractor was subject to California use tax on materials that it purchased with resale certificates since the contractor failed to establish that it was engaged in the business of selling materials.

PPE Sold to or Purchased by State of California is Exempt

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is temporarily exempt from sales and use tax when sold to or purchased by the State of California.

California Disallows Taxpayer’s Claimed Credit for Overpayment Made in Previous Period

A taxpayer was properly disallowed self-help credits that it claimed on California tax returns for amounts overpaid in the previous quarter.

Taxpayer Not Entitled to Relief Based on Advice from Previous California Audit

A taxpayer’s protest against an assessment of California sales and use tax was denied since the taxpayer could not establish that it was entitled to relief based on written advice provided in a prior audit.

California Enacts Exemptions for Diapers and Menstrual Hygiene Products

Effective January 1, 2020, California has enacted a sales and use tax exemption for diapers and menstrual hygiene products.

California Announces Sales Tax Payment Plan for Small Businesses due to COVID-19

Effective April 2, 2020, qualified small businesses can take advantage of a sales tax payment plan being offered by California due to COVID-19.

Delivery Method Changes Everything: Navigating Sales Tax on Intangible Goods

Explore cases where seemingly intangible goods can be converted to tangible personal property for sales tax purposes.

Sales Tax Nuances of Trade Show Attendance

Trade show attendance in another state can create physical nexus and trigger sales tax obligations. Learn key nuances of trade show rules across the states.

How the West Has Responded to Wayfair

A whirlwind of sales tax changes have swept across the Western region of the U.S. following the Wayfair decision. From novel approaches to economic nexus to shifting thresholds – keeping up with changes for remote sellers is no easy feat…

Pre-Installation Telecommunications Component Parts Taxable in California

Pre-installed component parts such as cables, conduits, and poles of telephone lines are subject to California sales and use tax.