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California Income Tax Calculator

If you’re trying to calculate California income tax, make life easier with our state tax calculator. Figuring out how much tax you owe in California can be fairly complicated due to the large number of tax laws you may be subject to—especially in California, which is known for being one of the tax-heaviest states in the country.

Failing to fulfill your tax obligations can lead to severe penalties, so don’t go at it alone. Take advantage of our California income tax calculator to ensure you stay in good standing before Uncle Sam comes knocking on your door.

California Personal Income Tax

California income tax is separate from federal income tax and is paid directly to the state in order to fund most public services. Thanks to its booming economy, low unemployment, and strong capital gains, the state collected $100.5 billion in personal income taxes for 2018.

Each state has the authority to impose whichever type of tax they so choose, except for those forbidden by the United States Constitution or state constitution. How was the Golden State able to pull in so much tax revenue? Let’s take a look at some California tax statistics for better understanding:

California State Taxes: Quick Facts
Income tax: 1% - 13%
Sales tax: 7.25%
Property tax: 0.74%
Overview of State Taxes

The U.S. states have the right to impose their own taxes on residents on top of the nation-wide federal income tax. Although the government grants money to the states, additional revenue is needed to finance public services like police protection, welfare benefits, and local governments, just to name a few.

To that extent, some states are “tax friendlier” than others. Unfortunately, if you live in the Golden State, you must pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. The California state tax is steep and progressive—and it doesn’t just apply to your income. From gambling to gas-guzzlers, keep reading to learn all about the California tax rates and how our team at Community Tax can help you earn the most back on your state tax return.

Annual 2019 Tax Burden ($75,000/yr income)
Income Tax
Sales Tax
Property Tax
Total Estimated Tax Burden
Remaining Income = $51,825
California State Tax Brackets

California tax brackets have a large range—from 1% to 12.3%—but there’s an additional 1% surcharge (known as the Mental Health Services Tax) for individuals whose incomes are over $1 million per year. That places California’s top marginal income tax rate at a whopping 13.3%.

If you’re a self-employed individual living in the Golden State, you must pay California income tax if you make more than $400, which is taxed at a rate of 15.3%. Of that, 12.4% goes to Social Security (limited to net earnings up to $118,500) and the remaining 2.9% goes to Medicare (with no collectible limit on earnings).

California Tax Calculator
Enter Value
Filling Status
Note: The rate of inflation from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, was 3.9%; the 2018 California tax brackets are indexed by this amount.
California Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains taxes in California are not only some of the highest in the nation, but they’re also some of the highest in the world! The state taxes all capital gains as ordinary income and does not provide any tax breaks for them. As a result, many taxpayers are pushed into a higher tax bracket and, subsequently, a higher tax rate. For example, if you fall within the 11.3% California tax rate, but the sale of your home results in capital gains worth $230,000, you may be sent to California’s highest marginal tax rate of 13.3%.

To make matters more complicated (and expensive), even if you move out of the state, you may still be responsible for paying taxes on capital gains earned in California. You may still be considered a CA resident for up to 18 months after relocating; residency laws are strict, so you should be sure to contact the Franchise tax board for guidelines and any questions you may have.

Note: “Capital gains” refer to the profit made on the sale of a non-inventory asset (most commonly the sale of stocks, bonds, precious metals, and property). They’re reported on IRS Form 8949 along with your federal income tax return.
California State Sales and Use Tax

The statewide sales tax rate in California is a minimum of 7.25%, which is the highest in the country (four states tie for the second-highest statewide rate at 7%: Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Tenessee). Most local jurisdictions add district taxes on top of the standard California sales tax, so the price you’ll pay ranges depending on where you live (or shop). Consumers can check to see the rate of the California sales and use tax by county and city. As of April 1, 2019, over 15 cities in the county of Los Angeles charge a combined, massive rate of 10.25%.

What’s California Use Tax?

Use tax is levied on purchases made outside of the consumer’s state of residence for taxable items that will be “used”, stored, or consumed in the state in which the consumer lives, but which state did not collect taxes at the time of purchase. Let’s say, for example, you’re a Golden State resident who’s trying to beat the system by taking advantage of the Oregon state tax law, which does not impose a sales tax. You might think you’d be able to save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on the purchase of merchandise such as a car, mobile home, clothes, toys, furniture, and so on. Unfortunately, you can’t escape the California sales tax by shopping out of state or online; you’ll still be required to pay the same rate in use tax, and if you fail to do so, may be subject to interest and penalties.

To estimate the amount you owe, you can fill out a California tax calculator worksheet, or you can save yourself the time and hassle by enlisting the help of a Community Tax pro.

Our pros make filing income tax a breeze. Give us a call!
California Excise Tax

In addition to the nation-high sales tax, you’ll need to pay an additional California state tax depending on what type of lifestyle you enjoy and whether you like to drink or smoke. Excise tax, sometimes known as “sin tax” is levied on alcoholic beverages, tobacco-related products, and marijuana for consumers who choose to partake. You’ll also have to pay an additional fuel tax on top of the California sales tax everytime you gas up.

Alcohol Excise Tax in California

The California tax rate on alcohol is subdivided into three different categories: beer, wine, and liquor. Each affiliated tax is already included in the purchase price by the retailer.

California State Taxes: State Sin Taxes

  • California Beer Tax - $0.20 per gallon, 28th highest beer tax in the country
  • California Wine Tax - $0.20 per gallon, 44th highest wine tax in the country
  • California Liquor Tax - $3.30 per gallon, 39th highest liquor tax in the country
Tobacco Excise Tax in California

Effective July 1, 2019, consumers must pay an additional $0.1435 per cigarette (or an additional $2.87 per pack of 20 cigarettes).

Marijuana Excise Tax in California

Recreational marijuana is now legal in 11 states including California. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, consumers who purchase cannabis will pay an excise tax rate of 15% of the average market price.

Gasoline Excise Tax in California

California is by and large considered a green, environmentally-friendly state, so it should come as little surprise that motor fuel is taxed by the state at a high rate—the 2nd highest in the country—at $0.360 per gallon for diesel and $0.473 for gasoline. This excise tax in California is in addition to the federal fuel tax ($0.244 and $0.184, respectively), as well as the California sales tax determined at the retail location.

Considering the expensive amount of taxes consumers are forced to pay to fuel up in the Golden State, it might be time to save money by going green with an electric vehicle.

Learn more about what energy-efficient tax deductions you could qualify for with advice from the experts at Community Tax.

California charges strange taxes, similar to excise taxes, on a number of different items including transportation tickets, vehicle sales, firearms, tanning salons, and $0.33 tax fruit bought from vending machines. Our team can show you the best ways to save money on various taxes as a Californian.

California Insurance Tax

The price paid to live in the Golden State doesn’t stop there, though. Insurance premiums are taxable in California, and although these state taxes are paid for by the insurance companies, the practice often leads to higher rates for insurance premiums.

California State Property Tax

There’s a lot of reasons to love the Golden State, but many Californians are proud to call the place home for one major reason: location, location, location. Whether you reside in the lush mountains of Northern CA, wine country in the Central Valley, the rolling Hollywood hills, along the pristine coastline, or in a bustling metropolis, you’ll inevitably face California property taxes. Unfortunately, the price of living in such a beautiful location is pretty costly—no matter how small or large your home may be.

Quick Facts
  • The median property tax in California is $2,839 per year
  • Counties in California collect an average of 0.74% of a property’s assessed fair market value as property tax per year
  • California has the 10th highest property tax rate in the country
  • The average percentage of income Caifornians pay in property taxes is 3.59%
  • The property tax levied in California depends on the county in which you live
  • Marin County, CA collects the highest property tax with an average of $5,500
  • Modoc County, CA collects the lowest property tax with an average of $953
Property Taxes
Avg. property tax in Modoc Country, CA
Median property tax in California
Avg. property tax in Marin County, CA
Income Taxes
State Income Tax
County Income Tax

All real property is taxable and assessed at 100% of its fair market value, but calculating what you owe in California property taxes as a homeowner isn’t so straightforward. The rate always seems to be on the rise, laws may change, home values increase, and the value of land in your area is reassessed.

The assessed value is equal to the purchasing price of the property, but the assessed value increases every year by the rate of inflation with a maximum allowance of 2% under Proposition 13. If you’re trying to calculate California property taxes, a general rule of thumb suggests multiplying your initial purchasing price by 1.25% (this covers the base rate of 1% plus additional local taxes).

How Much is California State Tax on Properties?

Property taxes are collected on a county level, each of which has its own method of assessing and collecting taxes—that’s why it’s impossible to provide a singular rate. The state has 58 different county assessor programs, overseen by the California Board of Equalization (BOE) for compliance.

California Homeowner Property Exemption

Note: The state might actually pay you to nest within its borders! Californians who own and live in their homes as their principal residences may qualify for a $7,000 reduction in the taxable value of their property of up to $70. To qualify for the homeowner exemption, the property must be owner-occupied—meaning vacation rentals are not eligible.

If you’re doing your best to understand all of this, but find that you need additional time to file, you are entitled to a state tax extension. Be sure to take advantage of this option if you truly need to (not simply as a way to procrastinate), because you don’t want to incur penalties for filing after the deadline.

Note: Eligible homeowners who are blind, disabled, or senior citizens in California may be able to postpone payments of property taxes on their principal places of residence. Some counties may also offer a property tax postponement program depending on location and eligibility.

Property taxes in California can rack up a pretty hefty bill, leaving many to feel burdened by the cost of homeownership. If you find yourself in need of Los Angeles tax help or San Francisco debt relief, Community Tax may be able to help you save money you aren’t even aware of. Our experts know the ins and outs of California tax law and are a great resource for assistance.

We offer professional help with property taxes. Learn more!
California Inheritance and Estate Taxes

Finally, Californians can catch a break! Unlike many other locations, heirs in California are not required to pay an estate tax to the state, although they will still be subject to the federal estate tax.

California State Tax Credits

Can residents living and working on the sunny West Coast get a break from the heavy tax burden? Yes, they can, with a number of California tax credits that may lower their financial obligation to the state.

California Earned Income Tax Credit

California recently expanded its earned income tax credit (CalEITC), which is a cash-back tax refund for eligible workers. For the 2018 tax year, this California tax credit is available to households with an AGI of up to $16,750 if there are no qualifying children, and up to $24,950 if there are one or more qualifying children.

If you do not owe taxes, then you get a cash refund of the CalEITC amount; if you do owe taxes, the CalEITC reduces the amount of taxes you owe and if there’s any remaining credit, you will receive the remaining cash refund.

The number of dependents you have determines how large your tax credit may be:

Number of Qualifying Children

CA Maximum Income

CaIEITC (up to)

IRS EITC (up to)
3 or more
Nonrefundable Renters Credit

If you live and pay rent in the Golden State, you may be able to use this California tax credit to reduce your income tax liability. This nonrefundable, non-carryover credit for renters is available for:

  • Single or married/RDP filing separately with a California AGI of $41,641 or less ($60 credit)
  • Married/RDP filing jointly, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) with a California AGI of $83,282 or less ($120 credit)
Qualified Senior Head of Household Credit

You may qualify for this credit if you were 65+ years as of Dec. 31, 2018, are the head of household (HOH), and you do not have an AGI over $76,082. If eligible, the senior HOH California tax credit:

  • Applies toward 2% of your taxable California income
  • A maximum credit of $1,434
Joint Custody Head of Household Credit/Dependent Parent Credit

If you have joint custody of your child, you must qualify as head of household to claim this dependent credit, which means the child must have lived with you for more than half of the year and you must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up your home. Qualifying parents may receive a credit on their California tax bill for:

  • 30% of net tax
  • A maximum credit of $469
We make state taxes easy. Contact us for help with your refund!
California State Tax Exemptions and Deductions

The difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction is that a tax credit reduces the amount of taxes you owe, dollar for dollar, while a tax deduction lowers your overall taxable income. Both provide great breaks that may place you into a lower California tax bracket, but bear in mind that this tax rate may be different from Trump’s new tax bracket.

Personal Exemptions on Taxes in California

You can claim a personal deduction on California taxes if you (not someone else) are primarily responsible for your living expenses, in addition to the dependency exemption. Based on filing status or qualification, this will exempt a certain amount of income from taxation.

Filling Status/Qualification
Exemption Amount
Married/registered Domestic Partner (RDP) filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)
Single, married/RDP filing separately, or head of household
Age 65 or older
* Estates and Trusts exemption credits are considered "Special credits allowed" under R&TC §17733
Phase Out of Exemption Credits on California Taxes

Exemption credits begin to phase out for higher-income taxpayers. The amount of income exempt from California taxes is reduced as follows:

Filing Status
Reduce credit by:

For each:
Federal AGI exceeds:
Married/RDP filing separately
Head of household
Married/RDP filing jointly
Qualifying widow(er)
Standard Deductions on California Taxes

Taxpayers who do not choose to claim an itemized deduction, can claim a standard deduction on California state taxes by default.

Filling Status
Deduction Amount
Single, married/RDP filing separately.
Married/RDP filing jointly, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
Reduction in Itemized Deductions on California Taxes

If Californians prefer to itemize their deductions line by line, then they must be reduced by the lesser of 6% of the taxpayer’s federal AGI over the threshold amount, or 80% of the amount of itemized deductions allowed for the taxable year.

Filling Status
AGI Threshold
Single or married/RDP filing separately.
Head of household
Married/RDP filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)

If calculating itemized deductions sounds like a lot of math, you’re right. Use our California tax calculator for help, or better yet, consult an expert at Community Tax who might be able to find itemized deductions you were unaware of. You pay a lot of taxes in California, and it’s our goal to make sure you keep as much as your hard-earned money as possible.

Discover more deductions -- speak to a tax pro today!
If you’re a self-employed worker, the IRS and California have the same filing deadlines to submit your estimated tax payments.
  • First quarter payment: Due April 18th
  • Second quarter payment: Due June 15th
  • Third quarter payment: Due September 15th
  • Fourth quarter payment: Due January 15th of the next year
Estimated Tax Payment Schedule
California Tax Facts
  • California has the 5th largest economy in the world.
  • The California economy is most known for its agricultural, technology, and entertainment industries.
  • Only taxing fruit sold from a vending machines helps support local farmers.
  • The heavy excise tax on gasoline encourages Californians to go greener.
Summary of Federal Taxes
Remember that California state taxes are separate from federal state taxes, and that the California tax brackets are different at a state level.
Tax Considerations
This information is accurate as of 2019. Special circumstances which can affect your tax return may apply.
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