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9/15/2012 – repealed effective 4/1/2019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9/15/2012 – repealed effective 4/1/2019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

Economic Nexus State Guide

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.

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…

South Dakota v. Wayfair Analysis & Predictions: Sales Tax Experts Weigh-In

Sales tax experts lend their insight into and predictions for one of the most important U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding sales tax in decades, South Dakota v. Wayfair.

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.

Remote Seller Resources

Comprehensive list of resources for remote sellers following the South Dakota v. Wayfair Supreme Court decision – including state notices, videos, articles, training opportunities, and more.

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.

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.

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 Limits Lookback Period for Certain Marketplace Sellers

California has enacted legislation that limits the lookback period for assessing sales and use tax on certain out-of-state marketplace sellers making sales into California.

California Enacts Marketplace Nexus Provisions, Changes Economic Nexus Threshold

California has enacted legislation with marketplace nexus provisions and a change to the state’s economic nexus threshold.

Prepaid MTS Sellers to Stop Collecting State MTS Surcharge, Begin Collecting 911 Surcharge in California

Prepaid MTS sellers in California must stop charging state-level portion of MTS surcharge, begin collecting 911 surcharge.

California to Enforce Remote Seller Tax Collection Requirements

California will require out-of-state retailers that exceed an economic threshold to collect use tax on sales into California, effective April 1, 2019.

California Issues Guidance Regarding Taxability of Sales to U.S. Government

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration has issued a publication discussing the treatment of sales to the U.S. Government for California sales and use tax purposes.

California Issues Guide for Manufacturing and Research & Development Partial Exemption

California issued an updated tax guide for the state’s expanded manufacturing, research, and development partial sales and use tax exemption.

House Introduces Online Sales Simplicity and Small Business Relief Act of 2018

On September 13, 2018, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and additional U.S. House members introduced the Online Sales Simplicity and Small Business Relief Act of 2018.

Local Agencies in California Prohibited from Taxing Groceries

Effective June 28, 2018, local agencies in California cannot impose, increase, levy and collect, or enforce any California sales and use tax, fee, or other assessment on groceries.

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Decision In South Dakota v. Wayfair

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the South Dakota v. Wayfair case, ruling in favor of South Dakota and overturning Quill’s physical presence rule.

Destination Management Company’s Transfers of Property and Related Services are Exempt in California

A destination management company’s transfers of tangible personal property, as well as related service charges, were not subject to California sales and use tax.

Multistate Tax Commission Updates Its Uniform Sales & Use Tax Exemption Certificate

The Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) revised its Multijurisdictional Uniform Sales & Use Tax Exemption/Resale Certificate on January 22, 2018 to reflect two state changes.

California Office of Tax Appeals Adopts Regulations for Appeals

The California Office of Tax Appeals adopted emergency regulations regarding appeals of the state’s Franchise Tax Board and Department of Fee Administration, effective January 1, 2018.

Record Number of Sellers Participate in 2017 MTC Amnesty Program

The volume of applicants for the 2017 online marketplace seller tax amnesty program overwhelmed the Multistate Tax Commission.

California Extends Partial Manufacturing Exemption

California has extended the end date for the state’s partial sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing from July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2030 and expanded the exemption’s coverage.