California Use Tax Information

File a Use Tax Return
The rate of use tax is determined by where the property will be used, stored or consumed, regardless of where the sale takes place. To determine the proper sales and use tax rate in your area, please see: California City and County Sales and Use Tax Rates
Purchaser Type How to Report and Pay Use Tax
Individual or Unregistered Service Business If you are not required to hold a seller's permit or use tax account (see below), the easiest way to pay use tax is to report it on your California Income Tax Return found at www.ftb.ca.gov. Follow the instructions included with your income tax return. Complete the worksheet included in those instructions to determine the amount of your use tax liability.

However, you may choose to report and pay use tax directly to the Board of Equalization (BOE). Simply use electronic registration (eReg) to report and pay the tax due.
Seller's Permit Holder You must report use tax under "Purchases Subject to Use Tax" (Line 2) of your sales and use tax return. See: eFile Sales and Use Tax Return or form BOE 401-A2, State, Local, and District Sales and Use Tax Return.
Service Business That Makes At Least $100,000 in Gross Receipts You must pay your use tax due by efiling your annual use tax return for the previous calendar year by April 15. See: eFile Sales and Use Tax Return.
Frequent Purchaser of Out-of-State Goods If you hold a consumer use tax account, you must report use tax on your use tax return. See: eFile Sales and Use Tax Return or BOE 401-E, State, Local, And District Consumer Use Tax Return.
Purchaser of a Vehicle, Vessel, Aircraft, or Mobile Home Generally, use tax on private purchases of vehicles and undocumented vessels is paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at the time of registration.

You can use electronic registration (eReg) to report and pay use tax on a vehicle, a vessel registered with DMV, a documented vessel registered with the U.S.Coast Guard, an aircraft, or a mobile home.

Please have the following information available at the time of registration:
  • Name and address of both the purchaser and seller
  • Identification number of the property purchased such as the tail number, documentation number or serial number
  • Make, model and year of property
  • Date of Purchase
  • Total Purchase Price
  • Location where property will be used, stored or registered
For additional information about how to report and pay use tax, please see publication 79, Documented Vessels and California Tax, publication 79A, Aircraft and California Tax, or follow the instructions in Regulation 1610.2, Mobile Homes And Commercial Coaches.

Purchases of vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and mobile homes are not to be reported on your California state income tax return. For additional information, please see Frequently Asked Questions - Use Tax on Vehicles, Vessels, and Aircraft.
Purchaser of Cigarette and Tobacco Products If you purchase untaxed cigarette and/or tobacco products from an out-of-state retailer, you will need to register with the BOE to report unpaid excise and use taxes. If the BOE receives information from an out-of-state seller regarding your purchase of untaxed cigarette and tobacco products, you will receive tax returns to report excise and use taxes. If you receive returns, you are already registered. If you have not received a tax return, please use electronic registration (eReg) to register to receive returns. Your purchases of cigarette and tobacco products cannot be reported on your California state income tax return.

More information:
Purchaser of Foreign Goods If you purchase foreign goods that do not qualify for any exclusion, you should report and pay use tax using the method based on your purchaser type as described above (individual, seller's permit holder, etc.) Please see Foreign Purchases for additional information on reporting requirements for foreign purchases.