California State Tax: Rates, Who Pays, What to Know

You don't necessarily have to live in California to pay California state tax.

Tina OremOctober 7, 2020
California State Tax: Rates, Who Pays, What to Know

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There are nine California state tax brackets: 1%, 2%, 4%, 6%, 8%, 9.3%, 10.3%, 11.3% and 12.3%. Your California state tax bracket and tax rate depends on your taxable income and filing status.

California state tax brackets and tax rates

Tax rate

Taxable income bracket

Tax owed

1%

$0 to $8,809

1% of taxable income

2%

$8,810 to $20,883

$88.09 plus 2% of the amount over $8,809

4%

$20,884 to $32,960

$329.57 plus 4% of the amount over $20,883

6%

$32,961 to $45,753

$812.65 plus 6% of the amount over $32,960

8%

$45,754 to $57,824

$1,580.23 plus 8% of the amount over $45,753

9.3%

$57,825 to $295,373

$2,545.91 plus 9.3% of the amount over $57,824

10.3%

$295,374 to $354,445

$24,637.97 plus 10.3% of the amount over $295,373

11.3%

$354,446 to $590,742

$30,722.39 plus 11.3% of the amount over $354,445

12.3%

$590,743 or more

$57,423.95 plus 12.3% of the amount over $590,742

Tax rate

Taxable income bracket

Tax owed

1%

$0 to $17,618

1% of taxable income

2%

$17,619 to $41,766

$176.18 plus 2% of the amount over $17,618

4%

$41,767 to $65,920

$659.14 plus 4% of the amount over $41,766

6%

$65,921 to $91,506

$1,625.30 plus 6% of the amount over $65,920

8%

$91,507 to $115,648

$3,160.46 plus 8% of the amount over $91,506

9.3%

$115,649 to $590,746

$5,091.82 plus 9.3% of the amount over $115,648

10.3%

$590,747 to $708,890

$49,275.93 plus 10.3% of the amount over $590,746

11.3%

$708,891 to $1,181,484

$61,444.76 plus 11.3% of the amount over $708,890

12.3%

$1,181,485 or more

$114,847.88 plus 12.3% of the amount over $1,181,484

Tax rate

Taxable income bracket

Tax owed

1%

$0 to $17,629

1% of taxable income

2%

$17,630 to $41,768

$176.29 plus 2% of the amount over $17,629

4%

$41,769 to $53,843

$659.07 plus 4% of the amount over $41,768

6%

$53,844 to $66,636

$1,142.07 plus 6% of the amount over $53,843

8%

$66,637 to $78,710

$1,909.65 plus 8% of the amount over $66,636

9.3%

$78,711 to $401,705

$2,875.57 plus 9.3% of the amount over $78,710

10.3%

$401,706 to $482,047

$32,914.11 plus 10.3% of the amount over $401,705

11.3%

$482,048 to $803,410

$41,189.34 plus 11.3% of the amount over $482,047

12.3%

$803,411 or more

$77,503.36 plus 12.3% of the amount over $803,410

Tax rate

Taxable income bracket

Tax owed

1%

$0 to $8,809

1% of taxable income

2%

$8,810 to $20,883

$88.09 plus 2% of the amount over $8,809

4%

$20,884 to $32,960

$329.57 plus 4% of the amount over $20,883

6%

$32,961 to $45,753

$812.65 plus 6% of the amount over $32,960

8%

$45,754 to $57,824

$1,580.23 plus 8% of the amount over $45,753

9.3%

$57,825 to $295,373

$2,545.91 plus 9.3% of the amount over $57,824

10.3%

$295,374 to $354,445

$24,637.97 plus 10.3% of the amount over $295,373

11.3%

$354,446 to $590,742

$30,722.39 plus 11.3% of the amount over $354,445

12.3%

$590,743 or more

$57,423.95 plus 12.3% of the amount over $590,742

California also assesses a 1% mental health services tax on any portion of taxable income exceeding $1 million.

Who has to pay California state tax

Generally, you have to file a California state tax return if you’re a resident, part-year resident or nonresident and:

  • You’re required to file a federal tax return.

  • You got income from a source in California during the tax year.

  • You have income above the thresholds in either of the tables below.

Under 65

65 and older

Single

0 dependents

$18,241

$24,341

1 dependent

$30,841

$33,791

2 or more dependents

$40,291

$41,351

Married filing jointly

0 dependents

$36,485

  • $42,585

  • $48,685 if both are 65 or older

1 dependent

$49,085

  • $52,035

  • $58,135 if both are 65 or older

2 or more dependents

$58,535

  • $59,595

  • $65,695 if both are 65 or older

Head of household

0 dependents

$18,241

$24,341

1 dependent

$30,841

$33,791

2 or more dependents

$40,291

$41,351

Married filing separately

0 dependents

$36,485

  • $42,585

  • $48,685 if both are 65 or older

1 dependent

$49,085

  • $52,035

  • $58,135 if both are 65 or older

2 dependents

$58,535

  • $59,595

  • $65,695 if both are 65 or older

Qualifying widow(er)

0 dependents

N/A

N/A

1 dependent

$30,841

$33,791

2 dependents

$40,291

$41,351

Under 65

65 and older

Single

0 dependents

$14,593

$20,693

1 dependent

$27,193

$30,143

2 or more dependents

$36,643

$37,703

Married filing jointly

0 dependents

$29,190

  • $35,290

  • $41,390 if both are 65 or older

1 dependent

$41,790

  • $44,740

  • $50,840 if both are 65 or older

2 or more dependents

$51,240

  • $52,300

  • $58,400 if both are 65 or older

Head of household

0 dependents

$14,593

$20,693

1 dependent

$27,193

$30,143

2 or more dependents

$36,643

$37,703

Married filing separately

0 dependents

$29,190

  • $35,290

  • $41,390 if both are 65 or older

1 dependent

$41,790

  • $44,740

  • $50,840 if both are 65 or older

2 dependents

$51,240

  • $52,300

  • $58,400 if both are 65 or older

Qualifying widow(er)

0 dependents

N/A

N/A

1 dependent

$27,193

$30,143

2 dependents

$36,643

$37,703

Am I a resident for California state tax purposes?

There are three types of residency statuses when it comes to California state tax. They determine what portion of your income the state will tax.

Types of residency status in California

If your California residency type is...

California taxes this part of your income

Resident

All income from all sources inside and outside California

Part-year resident

All income received while a resident, plus income from California sources while a nonresident

Nonresident

Income from California sources

Resident

You’re a resident of California for tax purposes if your presence in California wasn’t temporary or transitory in purpose. Generally, you’re a resident if you lived in California, even if you were temporarily out of state.

Here are some examples of situations that can make you a California resident for tax purposes, according to the state:

  • You spend more than nine months in California during the tax year.

  • Your employer assigns you to an office in California for a long or indefinite period.

  • You decide to check out California for a while, with no real plans to leave.

  • You’re in California for an indefinite period to recuperate from an illness.

Students from California who go to college out of state do not automatically become nonresidents. Likewise, attending school in California doesn’t automatically make a student a California resident. (You can see the rules here for how California determines residency status.)

Part-year resident

Generally, you’re a part-year resident of California if you were a nonresident for some of the tax year. This is often the case for people who moved to California from another state.

If you’re a part-year resident, you pay California state tax on all income you received during the part of the tax year you were a resident of California, plus state income tax on income just from California sources while you were a nonresident.

Nonresident

Nonresidents still may have to pay California state tax on income they receive from California sources. This means you may need to file a California state tax return even if you live in another state but made money from California-related things such as:

  • Services performed in California.

  • Rent from real estate you own in California.

  • The sale or transfer of real estate in California.

  • Income from a California business, trade or profession.

In some cases, you might be a nonresident for tax purposes even if you live in California but you were out of state for at least 546 consecutive days because of an employment-related contract. However, that exception won’t apply if you had more than $200,000 of intangible income while the employment-related contract was in effect, were in California for more than 45 days during the tax year, or if the state thinks the point of your absence is to evade the state income taxes.

6 things to know about California state tax

  1. California’s tax-filing deadline generally follows the federal tax deadline.

  2. Tax software will do your state taxes (though sometimes for an extra fee).

  3. If you can’t pay your California state tax bill on time, you can request a one-time, 30-day delay.

  4. If you can’t afford your tax bill and owe less than $25,000, California offers payment plans. Typically, you get three to five years to pay your bill. There’s a fee to set up an agreement.

  5. You can also apply for the state’s Offer in Compromise program, which might allow you to pay less than you owe.

Find the tax relief company that's best for you

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Service

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$495 discovery fee.

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