Publication 105, District Taxes and Delivered Sales

April 2014

  • District Taxes
  • Basic Rules
  • Special Situations
  • Additional Information

The sales and use tax rate is not the same in all California locations. While the standard statewide rate is currently 7.50 percent, the total sales and use tax rate is higher in areas where there are voter-approved special transactions (sales) and use taxes. In those areas (districts), the total tax rate includes the standard statewide tax rate plus the district tax rate (which varies from district to district). If you are engaged in business in a special taxing jurisdiction, you must report district taxes on Schedule A of your sales and use tax return.

For general information on applying sales tax to delivered sales, please see publication 100, Shipping and Delivery Charges. Note: District tax generally applies to over-the-counter retail sales within a district unless the retailer is a registered seller of vehicles, vessels, or aircraft (see below).

Determining where district taxes are in effect

To determine the correct tax rate at a location, please select, California City & County Sales & Use Tax Rates. This webpage includes information on special tax districts and provides the tax rates for all California cities and counties. Tax rates are also available from our faxback system (call toll-free 1-800-400-7115). If the rate listed for a city or county is higher than 7.50 percent, that city or county is in a special tax district. While most special tax districts cover entire counties, some are limited to specific cities. There may also be more than one district tax in effect in a specific location.

Find a Sales and Use Tax Rate by Address

As an additional resource, we offer an online mapping tool to determine the current sales and use tax rate for a specific address. Be sure the address information you input is the address you intended. The tax rate given will reflect the current rate of tax for the address that you enter. To find a tax rate, please select, Find a Sales and Use Tax Rate by Address.

Some cities within a special tax district have developed a database of addresses to help identify specific addresses located within their taxing boundaries. Although we provide a link on our website to this database, please contact the cities directly if you have questions about the addresses. Once you have established the locations, you can find the correct tax rates by selecting, Find a Sales and Use Tax Rate by Address.

Note: This publication summarizes the law and applicable regulations in effect when the publication was written as noted above. However, changes in the law or in regulations may have occurred since that time. If there is a conflict between the text in this publication and the law, decisions will be based on the law and not on this publication.


Follow the basic rules below in applying district tax to sales of merchandise delivered in California unless you are a registered dealer of vehicles, undocumented vessels, or aircraft.

Shipping or delivery destinationApplicable tax rate
Location outside of all special tax districts.Generally, the standard statewide tax rate of 7.50 percent.
Location inside a special tax district.Total rate for the district (statewide rate + district rate). However, if you are not engaged in business in the district, you are not required to collect district tax and you may use the statewide rate (7.50 percent). See Delivery to a location inside a special tax district and "engaged in business" for more information.

Registered sellers of vehicles, undocumented vessels, and aircraft

If you are a registered seller of vehicles, undocumented vessels, or aircraft, you must generally apply tax to your sale or lease at the tax rate in effect at the California location where your customer will register or license their purchase.

This is true regardless of where the item is sold or delivered. If a district tax is in effect at the registration or licensing location, the total tax rate for the district (statewide rate + district rate) will apply to your sale. For more information, please see our publication 34, Motor Vehicle Dealers.

Delivery to a location inside a special tax district and "engaged in business"

The total tax rate in effect in a special tax district (statewide rate + district rate) generally applies to sales delivered or shipped into the district. However, if you are not engaged in business in the district, you are not required to collect the district use tax. Instead, you may calculate the tax due on your sale at the statewide rate of 7.50 percent (see "Courtesy collection of district use tax," below). You are considered to be engaged in business in a special tax district and must report and pay district use tax if any of the following apply:

  • Have any kind of permanent or temporary business location in the district, including a warehouse, salesroom, or office;
  • Have any kind of representative or agent in the district, even temporarily, who makes sales, takes orders, or makes deliveries for you;
  • Use your own delivery vehicles to regularly deliver merchandise into or within the district; or
  • Receive rental income from the lease of merchandise located in the district.

As noted above, you may be engaged in business in a special tax district even if you do not have a permanent location there. For example, if the sales representative for your Calaveras County business travels to San Joaquin County to take an order, you are considered to be engaged in business in the San Joaquin Transportation Authority special tax district. Tax would apply to your sale at the full rate in effect for San Joaquin County. You would report the San Joaquin Transportation Authority district tax on Schedule A of your sales and use tax return.

Delivery outside special tax districts

Some sales of merchandise and certain types of vehicles, aircraft, and undocumented vessels may qualify for an exemption from a district's sales or use tax. Please see publication 44, District Taxes, for more information.

Courtesy collection of district use tax

Generally, if you are not engaged in business in a special tax district and you ship by common carrier into the district, your customer is liable for the district use tax. As a courtesy to your customer, you may choose to collect the district use tax from them. If you do, it should be shown on the customer's invoice and you must report it on Schedule A of your return and pay it to us.

Sales to aircraft common carriers; fixed-price contracts

The information in this publication may not apply to your sales to aircraft common carriers or sales involving fixed-price contracts. For help, please visit our website at www.boe.ca.gov or contact our Taxpayer Information Section by calling 1-800-400-7115.


Publications

34 Motor Vehicle Dealers

44 District Taxes

46 Leasing Tangible Personal Property

100 Shipping and Delivery Charges

Regulations

1822 Place of Sale for Purposes of Transactions (Sales) and Use Taxes

1823.4 Place of Delivery of Tangible Personal Property Generally

1823.5 Place of Delivery of Certain Vehicles, Aircraft, and Undocumented Vessels

1827 Collection of Use Tax by Retailers