Use Tax – The Most Painless Part of Paying Your Taxes

boe_logo_wavesBy Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– If you still haven’t filed your state income taxes, at least one part will be simple. In just a few seconds, you or your tax preparer can figure out the amount of use tax you owe. It’s easy with the use tax lookup table included in your California income tax return instructions.

You may owe use tax on items used in California that you purchased online, by telephone, or by mail order from an out-of-state retailer without paying tax. Examples include toys, consumer electronics, clothing, or small appliances you use at home. Use tax is not an “Internet tax.” It has been California law since 1935.


The lookup table provides an easy way to determine the use tax due on all your non-business items with a purchase price of less than $1,000 made during the prior calendar year, even if you did not save your receipts. Simply locate your adjusted gross income range on the table, and enter the corresponding use tax amount on the use tax line that appears on your state income tax form (540 or 5402EZ). As shown in the table to the right, if your adjusted gross income is between $30,000 and $39,999, you would owe $12 in use tax. Use tax due on individual items of $1,000 or more must be calculated separately.

Last year, use tax revenues paid through California income tax returns grew about two percent. Despite the increase, the BOE estimates $1 billion goes uncollected each year – enough money to pay the salaries of about 6,000 firefighters, 7,000 police officers, or 11,000 teachers.

For more information about Use Tax, visit this webpage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *