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How do you calculate your income tax in California?

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Quick Answer

Filers can estimate their state income taxes in California by using the published income tax rates on the website for the California Franchise Tax Board. For the tax year 2014, the income tax rates varied from a minimum of 1 percent to a maximum of 13.3 percent, according to Tax-Brackets.org. Only taxpayers with taxable income in excess of $1 million were subject to the maximum rate.

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Full Answer

Income tax forms for the 2015 tax year are not published as of September 2015, according to the California Franchise Tax Board. However, filers can estimate their tax liability using prior year data because 2014 rates are indexed by the 1.3 percent rate of inflation for the period July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. A married filer with an income of $100,000 could therefore estimate his taxes based on the 2014 tax rates and assume that he would fall in the 9.30 percent income tax bracket based on the rates published by Tax-Brackets.org.

In California, income tax rates are graduated and marginal, which means that rates increase as taxable income rises but only the income that falls within a given bracket is taxed at the rate for that bracket, states Tax-Brackets.org. Individuals, married couples and heads of household have different tax brackets. For example, the 8 percent tax bracket begins at $39,384 for single filers and $57,359 for married filers in 2014. The state of California imposes a 1 percent surcharge on incomes above $1,000,000, with the money dedicated to mental health services, notes the California Franchise Tax Board.

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