Sales and Use Taxes: California
May 2020

A Q&A guide to sales and use tax law in California. This Q&A addresses key areas of sales and use tax law such as tax scope, multistate transactions and collecting taxes, and filing returns. Answers to questions can be compared across a number of jurisdictions (see Sales and Use Taxes: State Q&A Tool).


1. Does the state levy sales and use taxes?

California imposes a sales tax on retail sales of tangible personal property. The tax is imposed on the gross receipts of any retailer from all tangible personal property sold at retail in the state. (Cal. Rev. & Tax. Code § 6051.)

In addition, California imposes a state use tax on the storage, use, or consumption in California of tangible personal property purchased from a retailer (Cal. Rev. & Tax. Code § 6202(a)).

The state sales and use tax rate is currently 7.25% (see California Department of Tax and Fee Administration: City & County Sales & Use Tax Rates). However, cities, counties, and special taxing districts may also impose their own sales tax rate. As a result, the total tax rate in California varies from 7.25% to 10.50% depending on the location.

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