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Sales tax in California

Sales tax rates in the state of California range from 7.25% to as high as 10.5%, depending on the location of the purchase. Understanding the complexities of California sales tax can help shoppers better budget for their overall spend.

California State Sales Tax

The baseline state sales tax rate in California is 6%. This applies as an overall state sales tax on goods and certain services purchased anywhere in California. However, district and city taxes drive rates even higher.

Higher City & County Sales Taxes

Many counties and cities have individual taxes on top of the 6% state sales tax. For example, San Francisco applies an additional 1.25% local tax plus special district taxes. Los Angeles also tops state taxes by assessing a 9.5% total sales tax composed of 6% state, 1.25% county, 1% city, and a 1.25% special district tax.

Across California, average combined city, county, and special district taxes tack on another 1.25% to 3% extra atop the 6% state sales tax. This brings many regions into around an 8% - 9% total sales tax range.

Highest Sales Tax - 10.5% Rate

Currently, Alameda County has the highest base sales tax rate in California. The city of Emeryville specifically has a combined 10.5% tax, consisting of the 6% state, 1.5% Alameda County, 1% local, and 2% district taxes all piled on one another. Nearby Oakland also hits 10.25%.

In summary, while the California state sales tax stands at 6%, most jurisdictions assess their own taxes on top. This means that total retail sales tax can be as high as 10.5% depending on the specific county and city. Checking rates by zip code can help shoppers avoid nasty surprises at checkout.

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