California State Income Tax

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You may owe California state income tax if you live in California, work in California, or do business with California residents or businesses. Here’s how California state income taxes work.

Who has to pay California state income tax?

You may have to pay California state income taxes if you are one of the following:

  • A resident of California
  • A resident of another state who permanently works in California (e.g., you commute across state lines)
  • A non-resident of California temporarily working in California if you meet certain earnings or number of days requirements (e.g., hockey players)
  • An owner of a business that performs work in California
  • An owner of rental real estate in California
  • A seller of California real estate
  • An owner of a California corporation, partnership, LLC, trust, or other business entity
  • An independent contractor performing services for a California company even if you work outside of California

See Middle Class Tax Refund for information about your inflation relief check.

What is the minimum amount to file a California income tax return?

The minimum amount to file a tax return depends on if you’re a resident or non-resident. Note: There may be other uncommon situations that require you to file a tax return even if you’re not above the minimum income to file.

Residents

If you are a resident for tax purposes, you must file a tax return if either your California gross income or California Adjusted Gross Income are above the minimum for your tax filing status.

Your income includes all types of income such as job income, investments, and certain legal settlements.

California Gross Income

Age as of December 31, 20210 dependents1 dependent2 or more dependents
Under 65$19,310$32,643$42,643
65 or older$25,760$35,760$43,760
Age as of December 31, 20210 dependents1 dependent2 or more dependents
Both are under 65$38,624$51,957$61,957
One spouse is 65 or older$45,074$55,074$63,074
Both are 65 or older$51,524$61,524$69,524
Age as of December 31, 20210 dependents1 dependent2 or more dependents
Under 65N/A$32,643$42,643
65 or olderN/A$35,760$43,760

California Adjusted Gross Income

Age as of December 31, 20210 dependents1 dependent2 or more dependents
Under 65$15,448$28,781$38,781
65 or older$21,898$31,898$39,898
Age as of December 31, 20210 dependents1 dependent2 or more dependents
Both are under 65$30,901$44,234$54,234
One spouse is 65 or older$37,351$47,351$55,351
Both are 65 or older$43,801$53,801$61,801
Age as of December 31, 20210 dependents1 dependent2 or more dependents
Under 65N/A$28,781$38,781
65 or olderN/A$31,898$39,898

Non-Residents and Part-Year Residents

If you are a non-resident or part-year resident, you must file a tax return if you have California source income and either your total gross income from all states or California Adjusted Gross Income are above a certain amount.

For total gross income from all states, use the California gross income tables for residents above. For California Adjusted Gross Income, use the California Adjusted Gross Income tables for residents above. 

California Tax Brackets and Personal Income Tax Rates

Here are the California tax brackets. The brackets are based on your California taxable income.

The brackets are also after subtracting your standard deduction and/or other deductions. In 2022, the standard deduction for single filers is $4,803, and the standard deduction for joint filers is $9,606. For dependents, the standard deduction is the larger of 1) your earned income plus $350 or 2) $1,100 BUT no more than the usual standard deduction.

Taxable Income RateSingle or Married Filing SeparatelyMarried Filing Jointly
1.0%$0-$9,325$0-$18,650
2.0%$9,326-$22,107$18,651-$44,214
4.0%$22,108-$34,892$44,215-$69,784
6.0%$34,893-$48,435$69,785-$96,870
8.0%$48,436-$61,214$96,871-$122,428
9.3%$61,215-$312,686$122,429-$625,372
10.3%$312,687-$375,221$625,373-$750,442
11.3%$375,222-$625,369$750,443-$1,250,738
12.3%$625,370 or more$1,250,739 or more

Like with federal income tax brackets, California uses a graduated-rate income tax system. For example, if you’re in the 8% bracket, you don’t pay 8% on all of your income. You pay 8% tax on income over the minimum amount for the 8% bracket and the lower tax rates on the income that falls within those ranges.

What is the bonus tax rate in California?

In California, bonuses are treated as part of your regular income. You’ll pay the same taxes on a $60,000 salary as you would with a $50,000 salary and $10,000 bonus.

If your employer pays your bonus with your regular pay, your employer will calculate your bonus based on your projected income. If your bonus gets taxed too much, you can get a refund when you file your California tax return.

If your employer pays your bonus separately, the withholding rate is a fixed amount. Depending on their tax bracket, some taxpayers will need to set aside more, and others will get a refund when they file.

For bonuses and stock options, the withholding rate is 10.23%. For other types of payments, such as overtime pay, commissions, sales awards, severance, and vacation pay, the withholding rate is 6.6%.

Is unemployment taxable in California?

California generally does not tax unemployment benefits. However, you will still usually owe federal unemployment taxes.

Does California tax Social Security?

California generally doesn’t tax federal Social Security payments even when your benefits are subject to federal taxes.

California does tax most other pensions and retirement account withdrawals.

California Tax Penalties

The penalty for not paying your income taxes on time is 5% of the amount you owe plus an additional 0.5% per month you remain late.

The penalty for not paying enough in estimated taxes is a variable interest rate currently set at 3%.

You may be able to request a Franchise Tax Board penalty waiver for reasonable cause. For example, you may have been in a car crash right before the tax deadline.

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