Tool | Updated October 2018

State-by-State Guide to Taxes

Compare state tax rates and rules — on income, ordinary purchases, gas, sin products, property, and more — across the U.S.

California

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The Bottom Line
Map of California

Least Tax-Friendly

The Golden State’s reputation as a high-tax destination is built in part on how aggressively it goes after big earners, with a 13.3% tax rate that kicks in at $1 million (for single filers) of taxable income. But for more modest incomes, the impact is far milder.

Still, Californians pay high sales taxes, as well as a high fuel taxes on all that driving they have to do. It’s one of Kiplinger's top ten least tax-friendly states.

Sales Tax

7.25% state levy. Localities can add as much as 2.5%, and the average combined rate is 8.55%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Income Tax Range

Low: 1% (on up to $16,446 of taxable income for married joint filers and up to $8,223 for those filing individually)

High: 13.3% (on more than $1,145,960 for married joint filers and $1 million for those filing individually)

See Kiplinger.com’s Retiree Tax Map to learn how California taxes Social Security income and other forms of retirement income.

Motor Fuel Taxes

Gasoline: $0.56 per gallon.
Diesel: $0.87 per gallon.

Property Taxes

Median property tax on California’s median home value of $409,300 is $3,237.

See Kiplinger.com’s Retiree Tax Map for details on tax breaks for seniors in California.

Vehicle Taxes

California charges an annual fee that functions much like a property tax. The rate is 0.65% of the actual purchase price and is reduced for the first 11 years of ownership. For example, the VLF on a two-year-old vehicle purchased for $25,000 would be $147.

Sin Taxes

Cigarettes: $2.87 per pack. San Francisco has a local tax of $0.20 per pack
All other tobacco products: 28% of the wholesale price

Beer: $0.20 per gallon
Wine: $0.20 per gallon ($0.30 for sparkling wine)
Liquor: $3.30 per gallon. Alcohol that is over 100 proof: $6.60 per gallon. Vapor products: 65.08% of wholesale price. Marijuana: 15% sales tax on marijuana, $9.25 per ounce of flowers (cultivation) and $2.75 per ounce of leaves (cultivation).

Travel Taxes

Hotel: No statewide lodging tax, but cities and other localities can levy taxes. For example, the city of Long Beach has a 12% rate. The city of Anaheim has a 15% rate. Sales tax isn't collected.

Rental cars: No statewide tax, but localities may levy them. Sales tax is due.

Taxes On Wireless Service

12.82%

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

There is no inheritance tax or estate tax.

Oddball Tax

High-proof tax: If your alcohol is more than 100 proof, the liquor tax doubles, to $6.60 per gallon. So, watching the sun go down with a barrel-proof bourbon is going to set you back a bit more in California.

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