The Kiplinger Tax Map: Guide to State Income Taxes, State Sales Taxes, Gas Taxes, Sin Taxes
Tool | Updated October 2019

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
Flag of California

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, and property taxes are low.

Still, Californians pay high sales taxes, as well as a high fuel taxes on all that driving they have to do.

Sales Tax

7.25% state levy. Localities can add as much as 2.5%, and the average combined rate is 8.66%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Income Tax Range

Low: 1% (on up to $17,088 of taxable income for married joint filers and up to $8,544 for those filing individually)

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

Effective tax rate: 1.79% for single filers, 4.6% for joint filers.

Motor Fuel Taxes

Gasoline: $0.6205 per gallon.
Diesel: $0.8721 per gallon.

Property Taxes

In California, residents pay an average of $841 in taxes per $100,000 of assessed home value.

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. Localities are not allowed to add to this but San Francisco tacks on a $0.75 “Cigarette Litter Abatement Fee.”
All other tobacco products: 63% of the wholesale price
Vapor products: 63% of 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.
Marijuana: $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. 

Taxes On Wireless Service

13.23%

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

None.

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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