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Sales Tax in Orange County

The total Orange County sales tax for most OC cities is 7.75%. However, nine cities in Orange County have a higher sales tax than 7.75% due to additional taxes levied by the respective cities. Santa Ana has the highest tax rate in Orange County at 9.25% with Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Placentia, Seal Beach, Stanton and Westminster .5% behind at 8.75%. La Habra and La Palma also have higher tax rates at 8.25%.

Sales Tax In Orange County
CityTotal Sales TaxState TaxLocal TaxCounty TaxCity Tax
Fountain Valley8.75%6.00%1.25%0.50%1.00%
Garden Grove8.75%6.00%1.25%0.50%1.00%
La Habra8.25%6.00%1.25%0.50%0.50%
La Palma8.25%6.00%1.25%0.50%0.50%
Santa Ana *9.25%6.00%1.25%0.50%1.5 Cents
Seal Beach8.75%6.00%1.25%0.50%1.00%
All other OC cities7.75%6.00%1.25%0.50%0.00%

* Santa Ana’s sales tax was increased 1.5 cents until 2029, then will be reduced to one 1 cent until 2039, before expiring.

Where California Sales Tax Money Goes

The state of California keeps 6.00% of the sales tax collected and the additional 1.25% goes to the county (1%) and city (.25%) funds. Orange County collects an additional 0.50% which brings the Orange County sales tax .50% higher than the state minimum sales tax of 7.25%.

Here is the breakdown of the of 7.25% minimum CA sales tax:

3.69%StateGoes to State’s General FundRevenue and Taxation Code Sections 6051, 6201
0.25%StateGoes to State’s General FundRevenue and Taxation Code Sections 6051.3, 6201.3 (Inoperative 1/1/01 – 12/31/01)
0.50%StateGoes to Local Public Safety Fund to support local criminal justice activities (1993)Section 35, Article XIII, State Constitution
0.50%StateGoes to Local Revenue Fund to support local health and social services programs (1991 Realignment)Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 6051.2, 6201.2
1.06%StateGoes to Local Revenue Fund 2011Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 6051.15 and 6201.15
1.25%Local0.25% Goes to county transportation funds / 1.00% Goes to city or county operationsRevenue and Taxation Code Sections 7202 and 7203
Total: 7.25%State/LocalTotal Statewide Base Sales and Use Tax Rate

What’s Taxed and What Isn’t?

Sales tax applies to most goods and services that you purchase. This includes everything from clothing to restaurant meals. Over 30 items such as alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, tires, gas and batteries incur additional taxes and fees.

Example of Items Exempt from Sales Tax

  • Groceries or unprepared foods
  • Plants or seeds used for food
  • Livestock
  • Prescription drugs
  • Services are not subject to sales tax (but may be subject to other taxes)
  • Energy utilities

CA Sales Tax Quirks

  • If you buy a car in California, your sales tax is based on where you register the car and not where you buy it.
  • Candy is considered a grocery (not taxed) but a soda (taxed) is not.
  • Ready-to-eat hot foods, whether sold by supermarkets or other vendors, are taxed.
  • The CA excise tax on gas is 53.9 cents per gallon.
  • The CA excise tax on cigarettes is $2.87 per pack.
  • The CA excise tax on cannabis is 15%.

If you are unsure whether or not you have to pay sales tax on a specific item or good, you should check federal, state and local laws.

Related Articles

Orange County MapsOrange County Guide
Orange County City MottosOrange County Zip Codes
Colleges & Universities In Orange CountyNeighborhoods & Unincorporated Communities
Monique McArthur
Monique McArthur is a mother of two, writer, and creator of delicious recipes. In her spare time she enjoys exploring all that Orange County has to offer, traveling, shopping, running with her dogs and spending time with family.