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California Income Tax Calculator

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Overview of California Taxes

California has among the highest taxes in the nation. Sales and income taxes are generally high, but effective property tax rates are below the national average.

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Itemized Deductions
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Your Income Taxes Breakdown

Tax Type Marginal 
Tax Rate
Effective 
Tax Rate
2020 
Taxes*
Federal
FICA
State
Local
Total Income Taxes
Income After Taxes
Retirement Contributions
Take-Home Pay

* These are the taxes owed for the 2020 - 2021 filing season.

Your 2020 Federal Income Tax Comparison

  • Your marginal federal income tax rate
  • Your effective federal income tax rate
  • Your federal income taxes

Total Estimated 2020 Tax Burden

Income Tax $
Sales Tax $
Fuel Tax $
Property Tax$
Total Estimated Tax Burden $
Percent of income to taxes = %
$
  • About This Answer

    Our income tax calculator calculates your federal, state and local taxes based on several key inputs: your household income, location, filing status and number of personal exemptions. Also, we separately calculate the federal income taxes you will owe in the 2020 - 2021 filing season based on the Trump Tax Plan.

    How Income Taxes Are Calculated

    • First, we calculate your adjusted gross income (AGI) by taking your total household income and reducing it by certain items such as contributions to your 401(k).
    • Next, from AGI we subtract exemptions and deductions (either itemized or standard) to get your taxable income. Exemptions can be claimed for each taxpayer as well as dependents such as one’s spouse or children.
    • Based on your filing status, your taxable income is then applied to the the tax brackets to calculate your federal income taxes owed for the year.
    • Your location will determine whether you owe local and / or state taxes.
    ...read more
  • Last Updated: January 1, 2021

    When Do We Update? - We regularly check for any updates to the latest tax rates and regulations.

    Customer Service - If you would like to leave any feedback, feel free to email info@smartasset.com.

    ...read more
  • Our Tax Expert

    Jennifer Mansfield, CPA Tax

    Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.

    ...read more
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Taxes in California

California State Tax Quick Facts

  • Income tax: 1% - 13.3%
  • Sales tax: 7.25% - 10.50%
  • Property tax: 0.73% average effective rate
  • Gas tax: 50.50 cents per gallon of regular gasoline, 38.50 cents per gallon of diesel

California has among the highest taxes in the nation. Its base sales tax rate of 7.25% is higher than that of any other state, and its top marginal income tax rate of 13.3% is the highest state income tax rate in the country. The Golden State fares slightly better where real estate is concerned, though. The average homeowner pays just 0.73% of their actual home value in real estate taxes each year.

Of course, income tax rates will vary depending on each taxpayer’s individual finances. For example, if you earn less than $58,634 per year, your marginal rate in California will be no higher than 8%.

A financial advisor in California can help you understand how taxes fit into your overall financial goals. Financial advisors can also help with investing and financial plans, including retirement, homeownership, insurance and more, to make sure you are preparing for the future.

California Income Taxes

California has a progressive income tax, which means rates are lower for lower earners and higher for higher earners. This is similar to the federal income tax system. In all, there are 10 official income tax brackets in California, with rates ranging from as low as 1% up to 13.3%.

Technically, tax brackets end at 12.3% and there is a 1% tax on personal income over $1 million. As part of the Mental Health Services Act, this tax provides funding for mental health programs in the state. It functions like a normal income tax and means that the top marginal rate in California is, effectively, 13.3%. That’s the highest rate in the U.S., but it only applies to income earners with over $1 million in taxable income. The table below further demonstrates tax rates for Californians.

Income Tax Brackets

Single Filers
California Taxable IncomeRate
$0 - $8,9321.00%
$8,932 - $21,1752.00%
$21,175 - $33,4214.00%
$33,421 - $46,3946.00%
$46,394 - $58,6348.00%
$58,634 - $299,5089.30%
$299,508 - $359,40710.30%
$359,407 - $599,01211.30%
$599,012 - $1,000,00012.30%
$1,000,000+13.30%
Married, Filing Jointly
California Taxable IncomeRate
$0 - $17,8641.00%
$17,864 - $42,3502.00%
$42,350 - $66,4824.00%
$66,482 - $92,7886.00%
$92,788 - $117,2688.00%
$117,268 - $599,0169.30%
$599,016 - $718,81410.30%
$718,814 - $1,198,02411.30%
$1,198,024 - $2,000,00012.30%
$2,000,000+13.30%
Married, Filing Separately
California Taxable IncomeRate
$0 - $8,9321.00%
$8,932 - $21,1752.00%
$21,175 - $33,4214.00%
$33,421 - $46,3946.00%
$46,394 - $58,6348.00%
$58,634 - $299,5089.30%
$299,508 - $359,40710.30%
$359,407 - $599,01211.30%
$599,012 - $1,000,00012.30%
$1,000,000+13.30%
Head of Household
California Taxable IncomeRate
$0 - $17,8641.00%
$17,864 - $42,3532.00%
$42,353 - $54,5974.00%
$54,597 - $67,5696.00%
$67,569 - $79,8128.00%
$79,812 - $407,3299.30%
$407,329 - $488,79610.30%
$488,796 - $814,65811.30%
$814,658 - $1,000,00012.30%
$1,000,000+13.30%

It’s important to note that those rates do not apply to actual income, but adjusted gross income. That is income after all applicable deductions and exemptions have been subtracted. The standard deduction in California is $4,601 for single filers and $9,202 for joint filers. Taxpayers in California may also be eligible for a number of tax credits, for financial events and expenses including childcare, buying a new home, the purchase of an electric vehicle and installing solar panels on their house.

The city of San Francisco levies a 1.50% gross receipts tax on the payroll expenses of large businesses. Although this is sometimes conflated as a personal income tax rate, the city only levies this tax on businesses. Therefore, you will not be responsible for paying it.

California Sales Tax

California’s base sales tax is 7.25%, highest in the country. That means that, regardless of where you are in the state, you will pay an additional 7.25% of the purchase price of any taxable good. Since many cities and counties also enact their own sales taxes, however, the actual rate paid throughout much of the state will be even higher than that. The table below shows state and county tax rates for each of the 58 counties in California, as well as the combined state, county and city income taxes for several major cities. These are the rates you would actually pay on taxable products within city limits.

Sales Tax Rates(Updated December 2020)

County
CountyState RateCounty RateTotal Sales Tax
Alameda County7.25%2.00%9.25%
Alpine County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Amador County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Butte County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Calaveras County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Colusa County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Contra Costa County7.25%1.00%8.25%
Del Norte County7.25%0.25%7.50%
El Dorado County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Fresno County7.25%0.73%7.98%
Glenn County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Humboldt County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Imperial County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Inyo County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Kern County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Kings County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Lake County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Lassen County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Los Angeles County7.25%2.25%9.50%
Madera County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Marin County7.25%1.00%8.25%
Mariposa County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Mendocino County7.25%0.63%7.88%
Merced County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Modoc County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Mono County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Monterey County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Napa County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Nevada County7.25%0.25%7.50%
Orange County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Placer County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Plumas County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Riverside County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Sacramento County7.25%0.50%7.75%
San Benito County7.25%1.00%8.25%
San Bernardino County7.25%0.50%7.75%
San Diego County7.25%0.50%7.75%
San Francisco County7.25%1.25%8.50%
San Joaquin County7.25%0.50%7.75%
San Luis Obispo County7.25%0.00%7.25%
San Mateo County7.25%2.00%9.25%
Santa Barbara County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Santa Clara County7.25%1.75%9.00%
Santa Cruz County7.25%1.75%9.00%
Shasta County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Sierra County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Siskiyou County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Solano County7.25%0.13%7.38%
Sonoma County7.25%1.00%8.25%
Stanislaus County7.25%0.63%7.88%
Sutter County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Tehama County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Trinity County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Tulare County7.25%0.50%7.75%
Tuolumne County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Ventura County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Yolo County7.25%0.00%7.25%
Yuba County7.25%0.50%7.75%
City
CityState RateCounty + City RateTotal Sales Tax
Anaheim7.25%0.50%7.75%
Bakersfield7.25%1.00%8.25%
Chula Vista7.25%1.50%8.75%
Fontana7.25%0.50%7.75%
Fremont7.25%2.00%9.25%
Fresno7.25%0.73%7.98%
Garden Grove7.25%1.50%8.75%
Glendale7.25%3.00%10.25%
Hollywood7.25%2.25%9.50%
Huntington Beach7.25%0.50%7.75%
Irvine7.25%0.50%7.75%
Long Beach7.25%3.00%10.25%
Los Angeles7.25%2.25%9.50%
Modesto7.25%0.63%7.88%
Moreno Valley7.25%0.50%7.75%
North Glendale7.25%2.25%9.50%
Oakland7.25%2.00%9.25%
Oceanside7.25%1.00%8.25%
Oxnard7.25%0.50%7.75%
Oxnard Shores7.25%0.00%7.25%
Riverside7.25%1.50%8.75%
Sacramento7.25%1.50%8.75%
San Bernardino7.25%0.75%8.00%
San Diego7.25%0.50%7.75%
San Francisco7.25%1.25%8.50%
San Jose7.25%2.00%9.25%
Santa Ana7.25%2.00%9.25%
Santa Clarita7.25%2.25%9.50%
Santa Rosa7.25%1.75%9.00%
Stockton7.25%1.75%9.00%

Most items are subject to these rates, but there are some exceptions, as well as certain products that face higher rates. Among the products on which sales taxes are not required are most groceries, prescription medicine and utilities like gas and electricity.

California Alcohol, Cigarette and Gas Taxes

Products that face separate tax rates include alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and gasoline. For alcohol and cigarettes, rates are assessed based on the quantity of the product purchased. Wine, for example, faces a rate of 20 cents per gallon. For regular gasoline, there is a 50.50 cent per gallon excise tax.

California Property Tax

Proposition 13, passed by California’s voters in 1978, sets the maximum allowable property tax rate at 1% of a home’s assessed value. It also limits increases in assessed value to 2% every year, except if the home has changed ownership or undergone construction. That law has helped keep Californians' property tax payments below the national average, and in some cases, significantly so.

If you are looking to refinance or purchase a property in California using a mortgage, check out our guide to mortgage rates and getting a mortgage in the Golden State.

California Estate Tax

California has no estate tax. In some states, inheritances or gifts are subject to a special tax, in addition to the federal estate tax. This is not the case in California.

California Insurance Tax

Insurance premiums are taxable in California. The insurance tax is the fourth largest source of revenue for the state’s general fund. It is imposed on insurance premiums and paid by insurance companies, although in practice it may lead to higher rates for consumers.

Photo credit: flickr
  • California is the largest state by population, with over 38 million residents.
  • The state’s largest economic industries include agriculture, entertainment and high technology.
  • The five most populous cities in the state are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco and Fresno.

Places with the Lowest Tax Burden

Are you curious how your tax burden stacks up against others in your state? SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the counties with the lowest tax burden. Scroll over any county in the state to learn about taxes in that specific area.

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Rank County Income Tax Sales Tax Property Tax Fuel Tax

Methodology

To find the places with the lowest tax burdens, SmartAsset calculated the amount of money a specific person would pay in income, sales, property and fuel taxes in each county in the country.

To better compare income tax burdens across counties, we used the national median household income. We then applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes.

In order to determine sales tax burden, we estimated that 35% of take-home (after-tax) pay is spent on taxable goods. We multiplied the average sales tax rate for a county by the household income after taxes. This balance is then multiplied by 35% to estimate the sales tax paid.For property taxes, we compared the median property taxes paid in each county.

For fuel taxes, we first distributed statewide vehicle miles traveled to the county level using the number of vehicles in each county. We then calculated the total number of licensed drivers within each county. The countywide miles were then distributed amongst the licensed drivers in the county, which gave us the miles driven per licensed driver. Using the nationwide average fuel economy, we calculated the average gallons of gas used per driver in each county and multiplied that by the fuel tax.

We then added the dollar amount for income, sales, property and fuel taxes to calculate a total tax burden. Finally, each county was ranked and indexed, on a scale of 0 to100. The county with the lowest tax burden received a score of 100 and the remaining counties in the study were scored based on how closely their tax burden compares.

Sources: US Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey, Government Sources, Avalara, American Petroleum Institute, GasBuddy, UMTRI, Federal Highway Administration, SmartAsset