California State Excise Taxes 2016 - Fuel, Cigarette, and Alcohol Taxes
36.00¢ per gallon
87¢ per pack
$3.30 per gal
20¢ per gal
20¢ per gal
- What are California's Excise Taxes?
- California General Excise Taxes
- California Alcohol Taxes
What is an Excise Tax?
An excise tax is a tax directly levied on certain goods by a state or federal government. The most prominent excise taxes collected by the California state government are the fuel tax on gasoline and the so-called "sin tax" collected on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.
An excise tax is not the same thing as the California Sales Tax.The California Sales Tax is collected as a percentage of the final purchase price of all qualifying sales, and is collected directly from the end consumer of the product.
California's excise taxes, on the other hand, are flat per-unit taxes that must be paid directly to the California government by the merchant before the goods can be sold. Merchants may be required to attach tax stamps to taxable merchandise to show that the excise tax was paid.
Even though excise taxes are collected from businesses, virtually all California merchants pass on the excise tax to the customer through higher prices for the taxed goods.
California per capita excise tax
California collects an average of $323 in yearly excise taxes per capita, one of the lowest average per capita excise taxes in the country.
California General Excise Taxes - Gasoline, Cigarettes, and More
California collects general excise taxes on the sale of motor fuel (gasoline and diesel), cigarettes (per pack), and cell phone service plans. Other general taxes, similar to excise taxes, may be collected on other items including transportation tickets, vehicle sales, gas guzzlers, firearms, tanning salons, and more.
California Gas Tax2nd highest gas tax
The California excise tax on gasoline is 36.00¢ per gallon, one of the highest gas taxes in the country. California's excise tax on gasoline is ranked #2 out of the 50 states. The California gas tax is included in the pump price at all gas stations in California.
California Cigarette Tax32nd highest cigarette tax
The California excise tax on cigarettes is $0.87 per 20 cigarettes, lower then 64% of the other 50 states. California's excise tax on cigarettes is ranked #32 out of the 50 states. The California cigarette tax of $0.87 is applied to every 20 cigarettes sold (the size of an average pack of cigarettes). If a pack contains more then 20 cigarettes, a higher excise tax will be collected.
California Cellphone Tax19th highest cellphone tax
The average tax collected on cell phone plans in California is $10.67 per phone service plan, higher then 62% of the other 50 states. California's average cellphone tax is ranked #19 out of the 50 states. The California cellphone tax is already included in the service plan price you pay to your service provider, and may be listed as "Misc. taxes and Fees" or "Other" on your monthly bill.
California Car Tax
California collects a registration fee and a title fee on the sale or transfer of cars and motorcycles, which are essentially renamed excise taxes. Unlike standard excise taxes, however, the end consumer must pay the tax directly to the California Department of Transportation and receive documentation (registration and title papers) proving the fees were paid.
California Alcohol Excise Taxes - Liquor, Wine, and Beer
California collects special excise taxes on the sale of all types of alcohol, subdivided into specific taxes on wine, beer, and liquor (hard alcohol other then wine and beer). Alcohol taxes are sometimes collectively referred to as "sin taxes", which also include excise taxes on cigarettes, gambling, drugs, and certain other items.
Please note that the IRS also collects a federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, which are included separately from California's alcohol taxes in the final purchase price.
California Beer Tax28th highest beer tax
The California excise tax on beer is $0.20 per gallon, lower then 56% of the other 50 states. California's beer excise tax is ranked #28 out of the 50 states. The California beer tax is already added to the purchase price of all beer bought in California, whether in kegs, bottles, or cans.
California Wine Tax44th highest wine tax
The California excise tax on Wine is $0.20 per gallon, one of the lowest wine taxes in the country. California's excise tax on wine is ranked #44 out of the 50 states. The California wine tax is already added to the purchase price of all wine bought in California.
California Liquor Tax39th highest liquor tax
The California excise tax on liquor is $3.30 per gallon, lower then 78% of the other 50 states. California's excise tax on Spirits is ranked #39 out of the 50 states. California state taxes on hard alcohol vary based on alcohol content, place of production, size of container, and place purchased. The California liquor tax applies to all hard alcohol (alchoholic beverages other then beer and wine), and is already included in the purchase price by the retailer.
California Excise Tax Deductions & Refunds
Can I deduct my California Excise taxes?
Unlike the California Sales Tax, excise taxes are not generally deductible on California income tax returns or on your federal tax return. However, the IRS occasionally allows certain excise taxes to be deducted for certain tax years.
- Vehicle Tax Deduction
- California sales and excise taxes on cars or vehicles bought during 2009 may be deducted once from your federal tax return. You cannot deduct excise taxes for vehicles bought during other years.
- Phone Tax Deduction
- You may deduct excise taxes paid on long-distance phone calls between the years of 2003 and 2006 from your federal tax return.
Can I get a California Excise Tax Refund?
While sales tax refunds are available for goods that are purchased in California and exported, California excise taxes paid on goods are generally non-refundable. Incentives may exist allowing certain state of federal excise taxes to be refunded on goods bought for specific uses, but such incentives change frequently.
California Excise Tax - References
- Tax Foundation, State Excise Tax Collections Per Capita, Updated 2009
- Tax Foundation, Gasoline Excise Taxes, Updated 2012
- Tax Foundation, Cigarette Excise Taxes, Updated 2012
- Tax Foundation, Liquor Excise Taxes, Updated 2011
- Tax Foundation, Beer Excise Tax Rates, Updated 2012
- Tax Foundation, Average Wine Taxes, Updated 2011
- Tax Foundation, Average Cell Phone Taxes, Updated 2010