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California Use Tax

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California Use Tax


The use tax has been in effect in California since July 1, 1935. It applies to purchases from out-of-state sellers and is similar to the sales tax paid on purchases you make in California. If you have not already paid all use tax due to the State Board of Equalization, you may report and pay the use tax due on your state income tax return. See the information below and the instructions for line 95 of your income tax return.

In general, you should pay California use tax on purchases made from out-of-state (for example, by telephone, over the Internet, by mail, or in person). However, not all purchases require you to pay use tax. For example, you would include purchases of clothing, but not purchases of food products or prescription medicine. For more information on nontaxable and exempt purchases, you may visit the State Board of Equalizations website at

You should pay California use tax on taxable items if:

The seller does not collect California sales or use tax.

You use, give away, store, or consume the item in this state.

Example: You live in California and purchase a dining table from a company in North Carolina. The company ships the table from North Carolina to your home for your use and does not charge California sales or use tax. You owe use tax on the purchase.

Complete the Use Tax Worksheet or use the Use Tax Lookup Table on page 13 and 14 respectively, to calculate the amount due.

Extensions to File. If you request an extension to file your income tax return, wait until you file your tax return to report your purchases subject to use tax and make your use tax payment.

Penalty. Failure to timely report and pay the use tax due may result in the assessment of penalties.

Changes in Use Tax Reported. Do not file an Amended Income Tax Return (Form 540X) to revise the use tax previously reported. If you have changes to the amount of use tax previously reported on the original return contact the State Board of Equalization.

For assistance with your use tax questions, go to the State Board of Equalization’s website at or call their Customer Service Center at 800.400.7115 or California Relay Service (CRS) 711 (for hearing and speech disabilities).

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Views: 306 Created on: Jun 15, 2013
Date updated: Aug 18, 2014

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