California tax calculator: estimate your taxes

Warning: Calculations are estimates based on December 2021 tax rates and Tax Foundation data. These rates are subject to change. Check the IRS website for the latest income tax information and your state’s tax website for state-specific information. Our calculator does not take into account 401k and IRA deductions due to tax law limitations. Please note that the amount of your IRA deductions may vary. You should speak with a tax professional to determine your tax situation.

What You Need to Know About California State Taxes

The State of California requires you to pay taxes whether you are a resident or a non-resident who receives income from a California source. State income tax rates range from 1% to 12.3%, and the sales tax rate is 7.25% to 10.75%.

The state of California offers tax deductions and credits to reduce your tax liability, including standard deduction, itemized deduction, earned income tax credit, child care credit, and dependents and a tax credit for access to university.

California income tax brackets and rates: single or married/registered domestic partners to file separately

California Income Tax Brackets and Rates: Joint Filing/Jointly Registered Household and Qualified Widow(s)

California income tax brackets and rates: head of household

California income tax deductions

Standard deduction

The State of California offers a standard and itemized deduction for taxpayers. The 2020 standard deduction allows taxpayers to reduce their taxable income by $4,601 for single filers ($9,202 for married joint filers, head of household and qualifying widowers).

Detailed deductions

A taxpayer may qualify for the itemized deduction if the amounts exceed the standard deduction. The State of California allows itemized deductions as follows:

  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Mortgage interest on home purchases up to $1,000,000
  • Professional expenses and certain miscellaneous expenses
  • Gambling losses are deductible up to the amount of gambling winnings

Catastrophe Loss Deduction

A taxpayer can deduct an accidental loss caused by a disaster declared by the President or the Governor. Damage must be sudden, unexpected or unusual and result from an earthquake, fire, flood or similar event. You can claim a loss if you do not receive insurance or some other type of reimbursement for destroyed or damaged property.

The State of California allows a disaster loss suffered in California.

IRA deduction

You can claim a deduction for the amount you contribute to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The State of California follows the same federal guidelines for IRA contributions.

California State Income Tax Credits

Earned income tax credit: CalEITC or YCTC tax credits

You can claim the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) if you are working and have low income (up to $30,000), both credits are one refundable credit. The credit amount ranges from $243 to $3,027. You can also benefit from the tax credit for young children if you have a eligible child less than 6 years old. If you qualify for the young child tax credit, you could receive up to $1,000.

Child and Dependent Care Credit

You can claim the child and dependent credit if you paid someone to care for your child, dependent or spouse. Credit is a non-refundable creditmeaning it can only reduce the amount you owe in taxes.

The tax credit for access to college studies

The state of California allows taxpayers to contribute to a state tax fund, which provides financial assistance to low-income students to attend college. Taxpayers who pay these contributions can claim up to 50% of their contributions on the tax return. This credit is a non-refundable tax credit.

Child adoption tax credit

If you adopted a child during the tax year, you can claim back up to 50% of the adoption fees paid.

Non-refundable rental credit

You can claim a non-refundable tax credit for rent paid up to half of the year. The credit is $60 if you are single or married/separately registered partner ($120 for other filers).

Household Tax Credit Manager

You may be eligible for this credit if you are 65 or older and meet certain conditions. The maximum amount you can claim for this credit is $1,499.

Do I have to pay income taxes in California?

You are required to file a California tax return if you receive California income, have income greater than one certain income thresholdand you belong to one of the following categories:

Residence status

You are considered a resident if you are one of the following:

  • You reside in California for a period other than a temporary period
  • You reside in California but are away for a temporary period

Sales tax and sales tax rate

California charges sales taxes of 7.25% to 10.75%.

Property taxes and property tax rates

Property tax exemptions

California offers property tax exemptions for homeowners, veterans, nonprofit and religious organizations, public schools, homeowners, and personal property (such as qualifying works of art).

Capital gains tax

California allows taxpayers to report gains and losses from the sale of capital assets. Unlike federal income taxes, which allow taxpayers to have capital gains taxed at lower rates, the state of California taxes capital gains as ordinary income.

Inheritance and inheritance tax and exemption from inheritance and inheritance tax

California does not have an estate or inheritance tax.

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Esther L. Steinbach