California State Sales Tax 2017: What You Need to Know

by TaxJar November 1, 2020

For an update to this post, check out our California State Sales Tax 2018 blog post.

California is the most populous state in the union, and California residents love to shop online. Because of this, many TaxJar users have to deal with California state sales tax. Whether you’re based in California, use California as your West Coast base of operations, or sell with FBA and store products in a California Amazon fulfillment center, chances are you file and remit sales tax in the Golden State.

The Basics of California State Sales Tax

California sales tax rate: The California sales tax rate is 7.25%. This rate is made up of 6.25% state sales tax rate and a 1.00% rate in each California county. This is a .25% decrease from 2016’s California state sales tax rate.

California local sales tax rates:  These vary by district. Find the most up-to-date California sales tax rates here.

How to collect sales tax in California: California is a modified-origin state, which makes figuring out just how much you are supposed to collect in sales tax a little (okay, a lot) confusing. Long story short, California requires that you collect from buyers the California state sales tax rate of 7.25% plus a district rate. You can find out a whole lot more about collecting sales tax in California here.

Important Note for Amazon sellers: Amazon treats California as a destination-based state when it comes to sales tax collection. If you’re using TaxJar to report how much sales tax you collected in California, you’ll find that it’s easier to set California as a destination state in your TaxJar state settings.

How to File a Sales Tax Return in California: Just as collecting sales tax in California can be tricky, so is filing. Click here for a guide on how to file a sales tax return in California (the easy way!)

Got Nexus in California?

If you are an online seller and have sales tax nexus in a state, then you are required to collect sales tax from buyers in that state. Here’s  what creates nexus in California (via the California tax code).

If you have nexus in California, ensure that you are signed up to collect sales tax. Click here for how to register for a California sales tax permit.

If you sell on FBA and you’re not sure whether you have sales tax nexus in California, check out these resources:

Or you can sign up for a 30-day free TaxJar trial and we’ll show you from which Amazon fulfillment centers your items have shipped.

What’s New in California Sales Tax for 2017?

Sales Tax Rate Decrease: The California sales tax rate decrease from 7.5% to 7.25% comes as a result of the expiration of a temporary education sales tax. Follow TaxJar on Twitter for the latest sales tax news and updates.

California continuing to attempt to collect consumer use tax: California is continuing their education campaign to try and persuade online shoppers to remit any consumer use tax they might owe. Consumer use tax is owed by a buyer when they are not charged sales tax on an item due to the fact that the online seller does not have nexus in the state. The BOE’s (perhaps unintentionally hilarious) online gift buying video has more info for California consumers.

More California Resources:

Join our California Sales Tax Demystified Webinar – Thursday, January 24th, 10am PT/1pm ET

California Sales Tax Guide for Business

California Board of Equalization Sales & Use Tax

The basics of US sales tax

Learn the fundamentals of sales tax.

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