California imposes a graduated income tax similar to the Federal Income Tax in structure. Returns are to be filed each year by April 15th.
Retail Sales Tax
Retail Sales tax varies by county.It is dependent upon voter-approved taxes for special funding projects. Check with your city or county offices for you city's rate.
Groceries, prescribed medications, newspaper, periodicals and public utilities are not subject to sales tax.
California property taxes for the first year - approximately 1.25% of the value (purchase price) of the property, plus any voter-approved bonded indebtedness of the community.
Thereafter, 1% of the combined value (purchase price) of the property, plus 2% appreciation per year, plus any voter-approved bonded indebtedness of the community.
The Homeowner's Exemption will be a deduction of $7,000 from the sum of the original purchase price and any accrued appreciation. This net figure will be multiplied by 1%. This exemption applies only to owner-occupied property. Any improvements to the property are taken into account to increase the taxable value of the property.
To qualify for the Homeowner's Exemption, the property must be owner occupied on March 1st. Once you have purchased a home, you are automatically sent a card for application. The card must completed and returned between March 1st and April 15th. Applications submitted after April 15th but before the end of the year will quality for only 80% of the exemption. If you have not received your Homeowner's Exemption card by the 1st week in March, you should contact your local County Tax Assessor. The only time you should have to re-file is if there is some change in title. Again, a card should be sent to you automatically, but if you do not receive it, you should call the County Tax Assessor.
The above state tax rate does not include local city taxes, special assessments, etc.
Tax Yearis July 1 through June 30
Taxes are paid in two equal installments. On November 1st, the first installment is due and becomes delinquent if not paid by December 10th, at which time a penalty of 10% is added to the bill. The second installment is due on February 1st and becomes delinquent if not paid by April 10th. If the second installment becomes delinquent, a 10% penalty is added to it as well as a $10.00 handling cost.
In some cities, a special tax is assessed to fund parks, street lights and other amenities.
There is no formalized residency procedure, only physical presence in California with the intent of making it your home.
Colleges, universities and other institutions have their own residency requirements and procedures.
California State Franchise Tax Board
5353 Mission Center Rd.
San Diego, Ca
Office of Internal Revenue Service
Tax information and assistance
Voter Registration Informations -- Who May Register
Any U.S. citizen who will be 18 years of age or older prior to the regular general election can register to vote. You must have been a resident of the state for 50 days preceding the election. The only exception to the residency requirement is if you are only voting for President. The cut-off point for voter registration is 29 days before an election. The State of California has a policy of permanent registration, unless you change your name or party, or unless you move.
Where to Register
Pick up a postcard at the County Clerk's office, any fire station, post office or the County Registrar of Voters and return it to the Registrar of Voters.
This is necessary only if change you name, address or party preference.
California law requires that a motorist obtain a driver's license within 10 days from the date residency is established. The license costs $12 and is valid for 4 birthdays. You must take a written test but you can omit the driving (behind the wheel) test if you surrender an out-of-state license.
Call the Department of Motor Vehicles to set an appointment for your drivers license examination -1-800-777-0133. You may also use this phone number for general questions and information. The DMV website will help with any other questions that you may have.
Motor Vehicle Registration
California law states you must register any out-of-state vehicle within 20 days of permanent residency. Personal property tax is included in your registration fees. The basic fee is based upon 2% of market value and is required annually.
California has a very strict city SMOG CONTROL ordinance. Smog certificates state that your car's pollution control device is working properly. The certificate must be presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles at the time of registration. Vehicles manufactured between 1965 and 1979 generally require the installation of a smog device.
The smog certificates are obtained from State-approved garages or gas stations. The car will be examined for compliance, and if necessary, a smog device will be installed.
Non-Resident Smog Impact Fee
A person registering a vehicle which was last registered outside of California will be required to pay a $300 Non-Resident Vehicle Smog Impact Fee if that vehicle is not labeled as California-certified.
To comply with California's Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law, your automobile insurance must provide at least the following coverage:
For injury to or death of any one person in any accident: $15,000,
For injury to or death of more than one person in any one accident: $30,000,
For property damage caused by any one accident: $5,000.
With court settlements often exceeding the above it is wise to consider a larger amount of liability insurance.
Car Seat Law
Parents must provide federally-approved car seats for children up to 4 years of age or 40 pounds. All cars carrying children in this age group must provide seatbelts. Failure to comply with this law could result in a citation. For further information, call 800-CAR-SEAT.
Seat Belt Law
As of January 1, 1996 it is unlawful for a passenger or driver in a moving vehicle not to have his/hers seatbelt properly fastened. This law includes passengers in the rear seat as well as the front. The fine for not observing this law is $50.00.
Public School Requirements
Enrollment and transfer requirements for all public school students in California are: Birth certificate, Last report card and transcripts from previous school, Proof of immunization for DPT, Polio, Rubella and Measles.
A child must be 5 years of age on or before December 1 to be eligible for kindergarten. Full-time attendance is required for all students between ages 6 and 16, unless specially exempted, and attendance at continuation classes is required for those between 16 and 18 years old.
In California, a Unified District includes both Elementary and High school levels; an Elementary District includes kindergarten and grades one through six or eight; a High School District includes grades nine and above, and may include grades seven and above; a Union High School District includes two or more elementary school districts.
The California Lottery was started in 1985. Fifty percent of Lottery revenue is paid back in prize money with 34% of the sales revenue going directly to California public education (excluding teachers salaries). Lottery tickets can be purchased at many retail, liquor, department stores, etc. You must be 18 years or older to play.
In conjunction with the Lottery is "Super Lotto." Since its start in 1985, the Lottery annually has averaged approximately 38 percent contribution to the state's K-12 and higher education institutions. California Lottery Headquarters, P.O. Box 3028 Sacramento, Ca 95812-3028; 916-322-7415 or 858-492-1700.