State of California Income Tax California Tax Deductions
Tax Year 2013

California income tax deductions are above-the-line expenses that can be deducted from your gross income before you calculate your taxable income.

By carefully choosing your deductions in order to minimize your taxable income, you can ensure that you get the largest possible refund when you file your California and Federal income taxes.

California supports many of the same deductions as the IRS does for your federal income tax return. You may be able to reuse many of your Federal income tax deductions, including any itemized deductions from your Federal 1040 Schedule A.

California may have different rules or cut-offs for certain deductions, so you should still double check to ensure that your deductions are permitted under California tax law. For more information about the California income tax, see the main California income tax page.

California Income Tax Deductions Table
$3,906.00 $7,812.00

California Standard Deduction

The California standard deduction is $3,906.00 for individuals and $7,812.00 for married couples filing jointly. The standard deduction may be chosen instead of filing an itemized deduction on your California tax return.

You should only file an itemized deduction you have enough qualified expenses to receive a larger income tax deduction.

$106.00 $106.00

California Personal Exemption

California's personal income tax exemptions include a personal exemption of $106.00 for single individuals and $106.00 apiece for couples filing jointly.

You can deduct one personal exemption from your gross income if you are responsible for supporting yourself financially. You may not, however, claim a personal exemption if someone else has declared you as a dependent on their tax return.


California Dependent Deduction

California has a dependent exemption of $326.00. You may claim one dependent examption for each of the children, relatives, or others who live with and are supported by you as described § 152 of the IRC (Internal Revenue Code). Children claimed as dependants must be age 18 or younger, or a student age 23 or younger § 152(c)(3).

California supports federal itemized deductions

California Itemized Deductions

California supports most of the IRS-approved itemized deductions you can claim on your Federal income tax, but with some California-specific limitations. Before you attempt to claim any itemized deductions you must verify that it is allowed on your California tax return, even if you were able to claim it on your Federal return.

A variety of expenses can be itemized as deductions on your California tax return. Here's a list of some of the most popular itemized deductions.

  1. IRA Contribution Deduction - You can deduct a limited contribution to your qualifying Individual Retirement Account every year. The deduction limits for 2012 are $5,000 per year for individuals under 50, and $6,000 per year for individuals 50 or over.
  2. Business Deductions - Qualifying business expenses, business losses, and losses due to theft or depreciation may be itemized and deducted.
  3. Self-Employment Deductions - If you pay both the employee and the employer's half of the payroll tax, you may deduct the employer's half from your gross income. This deduction generally applies to individuals who are self-employed or small business owners.
  4. Mortgage Interest Deduction - If you have a mortgage on a first or second home, you may deduct mortgage interest paid as defined in 26 U.S.C. § 163(h).
  5. Medical Deductions - You can deduct up to 7.5% of your out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses. Self employed individuals may also deduct premiums for qualifying health insurance plans.
  6. Education and Tuition Deduction - If you paid tuition to an accredited college or university, you can deduct some or all of the tuition and fees you paid. You cannot deduct housing, food, or other secondary expenses, but you may deduct interest accrued on student loans.
  7. Charitable Donations - Donations to qualifying charities or nonprofit organizations are 100% tax deductible, up to 50% of your gross income.
  8. Property Tax Deduction - Many states allow you to deduct any property tax paid to a county or municipality from your gross income.

Visit the California income tax page for details on California's income tax. If you would like to learn about the income tax in other states, visit our listing of income taxes by state.


  1. Before information on the 2016 California income tax deductions are released, provisional 2016 deduction information is based on California's 2015 tax deduction policy.
  2. The 2016 California standard deductions, personal exemptions, and dependent deduction amounts are sourced from the California .
  3. Information on California's itemized deduction policy is updated from the California and the Internal Revenue Service.