Paycheck Calculator California - CA

Income Information

Federal Withholding

State Withholding


Additional Information


California-CA Paycheck Calculator: Hourly and Salary

California, The Golden State, is one of the biggest States of the United States, in both means of area and population. From World Tallest Trees to beautiful National Parks, From Stunning beaches to adventurous hiking trails, from beautiful weather to delicious food, this state has plentiful to offer.

Apart from all these perks, this state is among the costliest states, having a Cost of Living Index of 127.1. Especially cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are the most desirable areas to live in California and are counted among the priciest cities across the nation.

For working in California, there are tremendous business and job opportunities available for new residents. This state houses some of the notable industries, including entertainment, trade, tourism, agriculture, and technology. 

The Golden State has a gross state product of $2.7 trillion, and its GDP would have ranked the 5th highest if it were a country.

So, if you are planning to settle here and start a new business or job, then the first and foremost thing you need is to plan out or forecast your earning. As an employer, you need to know what would be your business cost and taxes, including employee's expenses. On the other hand, even seeking for a job in California, you need to know your take-home pay.

Calculating the Take-Home pay could be a tricky job, you need to keep track of various components of a paycheck, and a single mistake could have a significant impact. Therefore, you are suggested to use our California Pay-check Calculator to get your work done in seconds. So, without wasting your time any further, let move on to our Step by Step Guide that would educate you about the things required in paycheck calculations.


California Tax Facts:

  • California charges four types of taxes on Payroll, all are administered by the Employment Development Department (EDD). These taxes are:
    • Employment Training Tax (ETT) (Paid by Employer Only)
    • California Personal Income Tax (PIT) (Paid by Employees Only)
    • Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax (Paid by Employer only)
    • State Disability Insurance (SDI) tax (Paid by Employees Only)
  • Usually, all four taxes apply to wages. However, some of the employment types are exempted from some of the taxes (in the list mentioned above). For further detail, you can refer to the list provided by the California EDD.
  • There are two brackets for minimum wages (as in 2019), allocated by California State:
    • $11/Hour for Employers having 25 or Fewer Employees
    • $12/Hour for Employers having 26 or more Employees
  • The minimum wage of California is higher than the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25, and it would increase by $1 each year until 2023.
  • California follows the progressive income tax system and has the highest top marginal income tax rate across the nation. However, the most upper tax brackets only apply to income above $572,980 for single filers and $1,145,960 for joint filers.
  • California State Income Tax has nine tax brackets that range from 1% - 12.3%. The tax is charged according to the filing status, income, and number of Allowances claimed.
  • The average Household income in California is $67,169, according to the United States Census Bureau.
  • The supplemental wages, including overtime, bonuses, awards, payments for nondeductible moving expenses, severance, paid sick leaves, and commissions, are taxed at a flat rate.
  • Employees working in California have to pay Federal Taxes, State Taxes, but NO local taxes.

How to calculate Paycheck in California

The following are the steps that every employee and employee needs to consider to calculate paycheck for Hourly or fixed salary while working in California.

Step 1: Determine the Pay Type

The first and foremost thing to calculate the paycheck is to determine the Pay Type. It is whether the employee is paid on:

  • Hourly basis: Employee is paid at an agreed hourly rate for the number of hours worked in a day or a week. Here the employee is paid overtime for every extra hour he/she works over regular hours. According to the Fair Labor Standard Act, regular hours are 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, and for every extra hour, an employee must be paid at time and half of the regular hourly rate as overtime.
  • Salary basis: Employee is paid a fixed amount for a set number of days regardless of how many hours he/she works. Unfortunately, there is no law for paying overtime to a salaried employee.

California State and Federal Laws on Pay Type:

  • There are no such state laws by California that regulates the Hour Worked, Regular Hours for adults. Therefore, the adult employers and employees must follow the guideline provided by U.S Wage and Hours Division and FLSA (Fair Labor Standard Act). However, California State Law does have laws to regulate overtime, which you will read in Step 3 ahead.

Step 2: Determine the Pay Frequency

The second step is to determine the Pay Frequency of your Paycheck; it is how often the employees are paid. All States have their law for pay frequencies. Therefore, you must study the State Payroll law (discussed below in this step) before calculating the paycheck.

Some of the standard Pay Frequencies are:

Pay Frequency Details
Weekly The employees are paid once a week.
Bi-Weekly The employees are paid once every two weeks.
Semi-Monthly The employees are paid twice a month. Usually on the 15th and 30th day of the month.
Monthly (Discouraged by California State) The employees are paid once every month. Mostly at the start or end of the month.
Quarterly (Discouraged by California State) The employees are paid after every three months.
Annually (Discouraged by California State) The employees are paid once a year.


California State Laws for Pay Frequencies:

  • California State Law requires employers to schedule/fix the paydays and maintain it regularly.
  • The state requires that the employee must be paid at least twice a month (semi-monthly).
  • Wages earned on the 1st of 15th of a month must be paid before the 26th of the same month. Moreover, Wages earned between the 16th and last day of the month must be paid before the 10th of the following month.
  • Employers that follow pay frequencies other than semi-monthly, like weekly, bi-weekly, or daily must pay their employees within seven days after the wage is earned.
  • State Law also abides the employer to pay overtime, no later than the payday that follows the time when overtime was earned.

Step 3: Determine the Gross Pay

The third step is to determine the Gross Pay of the employee. Gross Pay is the amount of money an employee has earned in the last pay period. It consists of several components that are essential to consider to calculate Income Taxes, Deductions, and contributions. Below are the essential components to deduce gross pay:

Hourly Employee:

  1. Basic Salary is calculated by multiplying Number of Hours worked in a pay frequency by Regular Hourly Rate.
  2. Overtime pay is calculated according to FLSA law, where every extra hour worked after 8 hours workday or 40-hours in a week, would be counted as Overtime hour that must be paid in time and half of regular hourly rate.
  3. Double Time Pay is a time that an employee is paid in double the regular hourly rate by the employee. It is paid if the employee works on federal holidays. (California State laws are regulating the Double time, which will be discussed in this guide ahead)
  4. Now, to deduce the Gross Pay, we need to add Overtime Pay, Double Time Pay, Bonuses, Commissions, fringe benefits, Vacations Pay, Sick Pay, and Holiday Pay (If Any) into Basic Salary.

Note: We provide multiple calculators to calculate Total Hours Worked and Overtime that you can use to calculate your Paycheck. They are as follow:


Salaried Employee:

  1. To determine the gross salary for the employee, start with the annual salary and divide it by the number of pay periods to get a basic salary. For example, if the employee’s annual salary is $27400, and is paid once a semi-month, then you must divide 27400/24. Therefore, the employee's basic salary is $1142.
  2. Now, add (if any) reimbursements, commissions, bonuses, *fringe benefits, or tips to the basic salary of the employee.
  3. Next, you need to add overtime pay into basic salary, only if the salaried employee has a salary equal to or below $455 a week or $23,660 annually. The FLSA regulates this, and the employee must be paid overtime at the rate of time and half of the hourly rate.
  4. Last, subtract any unpaid time off(s) from the basic salary to get Gross Pay.

*Fringe Benefits:

Fringe benefits are the benefits offered by employers to employees who meet specific criteria set by the company. These benefits are often taxable and can affect the employee's paycheck.

The Fringe benefits are often deducted from employee’s Paycheck by Specific Dollar Amount or Percentage of the Gross Pay.

Some of the common Fringe Benefits are:

  • Health Insurances, including Medical, Dental, and Vision.
  • Individual HSA or Family HSA.
  • Housing, Company Car, and Cell Phone.
  • Gym and Fitness.
  • Student Loan Repayment.

To calculate the Gross Pay accurately, you must know the State and Federal Wage Laws. Some of them are as follows:

California State and Federal Laws on Gross Pay:

  • California's minimum wage law does not apply to outside Salespersons, or employees, who are working under employers, who are in the immediate family.
  • Disabled employees and workers at nonprofits organizations are also exempted from California Minimum wage law.
  • Students Workers are eligible to be paid 85% of the state minimum wage for their first 160 hours of work, according to California State law.
  • Many Cities in California even have a minimum wage higher than the State Minimum Wage.
  • Employers in California may pay the 18-year-olds and minors the youth minimum wage of $4.25 for their first 90 days of employment. However, some other labor law exemptions may apply for minors in California.
  • Unlike other States, In California, Employers are required to pay full minimum wage for every hour worked to the tipped employees.
  • Eligible Employees working in California, are entitled to receive overtime, for every access hour worked over 8 regular hours a day or 40 hours a week. Moreover, if the employee works more than 12 hours in a day, then he/she must receive double time for every excess hour after 12 hours workday.
  • Unlike many State, Salaried employees are also entitled to receive overtime unless they are precisely exempted from overtime by the provisions of the California Labor Code. Moreover, the salaried employee may also be exempted from receiving overtime if he/she meets the test for exempt status as defined by federal and state laws.
  • An employee is entitled to receive paid sick leaves, who work for 30 or more days within a year from the beginning of employment in California.
  • If an eligible employee works on the seventh day of the workweek, then he/she must receive one and half of the regular hourly rate for the first eight hours and double time for every excess hour after 8 hours.
  • In California, employees must receive 30 minutes of UNPAID lunch breaks after five hours of work. However, if the total worked day is of 6 hours or less and both the parties are mutually agreed, than this can be waived.

Note: there are some further exceptions to this law, for which you can refer to California’s official website.


Step 4: Determine the Filing Status:

Here starts the complicated part. After the Gross Pay for the employee is deduced, the next thing an employer should do is refer to the W-4 tax form of an employee. This form is filled by the employee while joining the job.

Note:

  • The employee has to update his Form W4 if any significant changes come to his/her life. Such considerable changes include marriage, divorce, or child-baby.
  • The employee also has the authority to make a change in his/her form W4, an unlimited number of times, but only once per paycheck.

The form W4 contains all the essential details, including income tax details, marital status, and the number of allowances to be claimed. These details are required to calculate the Taxable Income, Federal Taxes, Allowances, State Taxes, and Local Taxes, that the employer has to withhold from the employee's salary.

Note: As IRS has made changes in the Tax Form W4, which would be effective from January 2020. Therefore, all the following steps are according to the new form.

There is a total of four filing statuses, from which the employee has to choose one. These are the following:

  • Single
  • Married filing separately
  • Married filing jointly
  • Head of Household

Note: You can select "Single" as Marital Status on the California Paycheck Calculator if the employee is "Single" or "Married filing separately." Else Choose "Married" if the employee is "Married Filing Jointly" or "Head of Household."


Step 5: Calculating the Taxable Income:

Taxable income is the income, which is used to determine the amount of taxes that should be withheld from the employee’s paycheck by the employer. It is different from Gross Pay.

There is the portion of income that is exempted from the taxes, such as cash gifts, inheritances, rebates, Welfare income, child support, State and local tax refunds, Life insurance, etc. This portion can be determined and claimed by the taxpayer (employee) by using "itemized deductions."

As the "itemized deductions" process is too long, the Taxpayer can also go for “standard deductions (a specific amount defined by the government to be deducted from Gross Pay according to taxpayer’s filing status” instead, for calculating the Taxable Income.

Standard Deduction amount for 2018 to 2025 is as follow:

Filing Status Standard Deduction Amount
Single $12,000
Married Filing Separately $12,000
Married Filing Jointly $18,000
Head of Household $24,000
Qualifying Widow(er)s $24,000

To determine the Taxable income, the taxpayer (employee) has to:

  • Subtract any “Standard deductions” or “Itemized deductions” deductions from the Gross Pay.
  • Subtract any “tax exemptions” such as “dependent exemption”

Note: This is just a general overview of Taxable Income. Many other factors need to be considered for Taxable income determination. Moreover, the criteria can be different from person to person. You must refer to your Lawyer, or study Taxable income in detail for calculating the accurate Taxable Income.


Step 6: Subtracting the Pre-Tax Contributions from Taxable Income:

As of now, the taxable income of an employee is deduced. The next step is to subtract any pre-tax contributions that were chosen by the employee. These contributions are designed to encourage employees to save for their retirement. Additionally, it further reduces the amount of taxable income, hence, increasing the take-home amount of an employee.

However, not all contributions are exempted from all taxes, but only from federal income tax. Therefore, some employees may have to pay FICA, state, or other taxes on such contributions.

Following are some of the common contributions that an employee can choose:

  1. Traditional 401(k) or 403(b) or other qualified retirement plans
  2. traditional IRA - Individual Retirement Accounts
  3. Solo 401(k), SEP-IRA or SIMPLE IRA
  4. healthcare savings account (HSA)
  5. Dental Insurance
  6. Vision Insurance
  7. Commuter Benefits including commuter parking, commuter transit, and commuter benefits
  8. Health Insurance
  9. Dependent care FSA contributions 

Step 7: Deducing the Number of Federal Allowances:

Before jumping on to Federal Taxes, it is essential to conclude the number of Allowances that an employee needs to claim.

Allowances are exemptions from paying a certain amount of income tax. Therefore, the amount of withholding tax that an employer withholds from the employee’s paycheck is inversely proportional to the number of allowances claimed. 

General Number of Allowances a Taxpayer (Employee) must Claim
Situation Number of Allowances to claim
The taxpayer depends on someone 0 to 1 Allowance
Single – One Job – Taxpayer doesn't depend on anyone 1 to 2 Allowances
Married Couple with no dependents 2
Head of Household with one dependent 3
A married couple with one dependent 3
A married couple with two dependent 4

Effects of Allowances on Federal Taxes

The employee in form W4 already fills details of claimed allowances. The employee must do a complete working before filling out the details for the number of allowances he/she needs to claim as claiming extra Allowances may cause underpayment of taxes that results in a penalty by the IRS. On the other hand, claiming fewer Allowances is like lending money to IRS without any benefit.

Effects of Allowances on Federal Taxes
Situation Effects on Federal Withholding Taxes Consequences
To many Allowances claimed ·Withholding Federal Tax decreases
·Take-Home Pay Increases
·The taxpayer may owe money to IRS
·Tax Payer has to pay the pending tax amount along with penalties
Too few Allowances claimed ·Withholding Tax Federal increases
·Take-Home Pay decreases
·IRS may owe money to the taxpayer, for which
·Tax Payer is likely to receive a refund
·Tax Payer may have less money to spend the whole year until the refund is received

Details on how many allowances an employee must claim are provided here.

Step 8:  Subtracting the Federal Taxes

Once the final taxable income is calculated after subtracting all deductions (standard or itemized) and contributions, a certain amount is withheld by the employer from an employee's paycheck as federal income tax, along with the two federal (FICA) programs: Social Security and Medicare.

Federal Income Taxes

This Federal Income Tax rate is applied at a gradual level, ranging from 0% to 37% of taxable earnings. The Tax rate depends on the filing status, number of Allowances claimed, and taxable income.

Therefore higher the income, the higher the federal tax rate, and the higher the number of Allowances claimed, the higher the Net Pay (Take-home Pay).

These rates are as follow:

Single Filers
Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $9,525 10.0%
$9,525 - $38,700 12.0%
$38,700 - $82,500 22.0%
$82,500 - $157,500 24.0%
$157,500 - $200,000 32.0%
$200,000 - $500,000 35.0%
$500,000+ 37.0%

Married, Filing Jointly
Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $19,050 10.0%
$19,050 - $77,400 12.0%
$77,400 - $165,000 22.0%
$165,000 - $315,000 24.0%
$315,000 - $400,000 32.0%
$400,000 - $600,000 35.0%
$600,000+ 37.0%

Married, Filing Separately
Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $9,525 10.0%
$9,525 - $38,700 12.0%
$38,700 - $82,500 22.0%
$82,500 - $157,500 24.0%
$157,500 - $200,000 32.0%
$200,000 - $500,000 35.0%
$500,000+ 37.0%

Head of Household
Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $13,600 10.0%
$13,600 - $51,800 12.0%
$51,800 - $82,500 22.0%
$82,500 - $157,500 24.0%
$157,500 - $200,000 32.0%
$200,000 - $500,000 35.0%
$500,000+ 37.0%

FICA Taxes (Social Security and Medicare):

In addition to the Federal Income Tax, Employers are also abided to withhold an amount from the employee’s paycheck for FICA Tax (Federal Insurance Contributions Act). These taxes are used to help American citizens with retirement, disability, survivorship, and medical treatment.

FICA Tax comprises of:

  1. Social Security Tax

A total of 12.4% of FICA tax is paid for Social Security, by both employee and employer. Here 6.2% is paid by the employee and remain 6.2% is funded by the employer. However, the Social Security tax is only applicable to the first $132,900 (in 2019) earned. No amount is charged above this earning,

  1. Medicare Tax

1.45 percent each is paid to Medicare by both employee and employer. Moreover, if the taxpayer (employee or employer) earns more than $200,000 as a single filer or $250,000 as a married couple than additional Medicare taxes of 0.9% are to be paid.


Note: If you are calculating your federal taxes as an employer, you have to add FUTA unemployment taxes in addition to FICA taxes, which is 6% of the first $7,000 of each employee’s taxable income. Moreover, you can also claim a tax credit of up to 5.4% for state unemployment tax you pay, only if you pay on time and in full.


California State Laws on Federal Income Tax:

  • If an employee has received a refund of all federal income tax, due to zero liability, in the previous tax year, and is expecting to receive a refund of all your income tax withholdings because employee will have no tax liability this year than, the employee is exempted from paying federal tax, According to IRS.
  • If you are confused about whether you are exempted from federal withholding tax or not, you can use these worksheets or this flowchart provided by the IRS to help you decide.

Step 9: Subtracting State Taxes:

Now, as you are done with Federal Payroll Taxes, the next thing that you need to calculate is California State Taxes. The State of California’s Employment Development Department requires the employer to withhold four types of taxes, from which half are to be withheld from the employee's paycheck, and the rest is to be paid by the employer itself. To deduce the actual percentages of the taxes, you can refer to the Employment Development Department Website.

Generally, the following are the taxes required by California State:

1.California Personal Income Tax (PIT) – Paid by Employee

This tax is charged to California residents as well as those nonresidents who derive income within California. This taxed is based on the filing status, income, and the number of allowances claimed by the employee in on the W-4 or DE 4 form.

Single Filers
California Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $8,544 1.0%
$8,544 - $20,255 2.0%
$20,255 - $31,969 4.0%
$31,969 - $44,377 6.0%
$44,377 - $56,085 8.0%
$56,085 - $286,492 9.3%
$286,492 - $343,788 10.3%
$343,788 - $572,980 11.3%
$572,980+ 12.3%

Married, Filing Jointly
California Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $17,088 1.0%
$17,088 - $40,510 2.0%
$40,510 - $63,938 4.0%
$63,938 - $88,754 6.0%
$88,754 - $112,170 8.0%
$112,170 - $572,984 9.3%
$572,984 - $687,576 10.3%
$687,576 - $1,145,960 11.3%
$1,145,960+ 12.3%

Married, Filing Separately
California Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $8,544 1.0%
$8,544 - $20,255 2.0%
$20,255 - $31,969 4.0%
$31,969 - $44,377 6.0%
$44,377 - $56,085 8.0%
$56,085 - $286,492 9.3%
$286,492 - $343,788 10.3%
$343,788 - $572,980 11.3%
$572,980+ 12.3%

Head of Household
California Taxable Income Rate
$0 - $17,099 1.0%
$17,099 - $40,512 2.0%
$40,512 - $52,224 4.0%
$52,224 - $64,632 6.0%
$64,632 - $76,343 8.0%
$76,343 - $389,627 9.3%
$389,627 - $467,553 10.3%
$467,553 - $779,253 11.3%
$779,253+ 12.3%

Quick Tip:
  • Taxpayers can increase the take-home pay by claiming the accurate number of allowances on California State Tax. Moreover, they can further reduce the tax bill by subtracting Standard or Itemized deductions from the taxable income.
California Standard Deductions
Standard Deductions from California State Tax
Filing Status Exemption Amount
Single $4,236
Married Filing Separately (Same Return) $4,236
Married Filing Separately (Different Return) -
Married Filing Jointly $8,472
Head of Family $8,472
Qualifying Widow(er) $8,472

California State tax credits and deductions

California State also offers Tax credits/deductions to the eligible individuals. The eligibility criteria depend on the filing status and other conditions.

Make sure to refer to the official site of California State, to read the eligibility criteria. Maybe you are lucky enough to reduce your State payroll taxes further.

2. State Disability Insurance Tax (SDI) – Paid by Employee

This tax provides temporary benefit payments for non-work-related disabilities to the workers. The state requires the employer to withhold 1% of taxable wages form the employee's paycheck for SDI on the first $118,371 in wages paid within the calendar year to each employee. However, the maximum allowable tax is $1,183.71 per year.

3. Unemployment Insurance (UI) Tax – Paid by Employer

This tax is issued by the U.S. Department of Labor and is to be paid by the employer. The rate for UI Tax is 6.2% on the first $7,000 in wages in a calendar year. However, new employees get to relief by paying 3.4% for the first two to three years.

4. Employment Training Tax (ETT) – Paid by Employer

This Tax is also known as funding for training and is required to be paid by the employer. The ETT is paid at the rate of 0.1 on the first $7,000 in wages paid to each employee in a single year. Based on current wage rate in California, the maximum ETT amount is $7 per employee per year.


California State Laws on State Income Tax:

  • The foreign-earned income is exempted from federal tax, but not from California State income tax.
  • Interest earned on State, local, or municipal bonds are taxable on California State Income Tax.
  • California exempts State Income tax on some Incomes such as Social Security and railroad retirement benefits, state income tax refunds, Unemployment compensation, Interest earned on federal bonds, Distributions from a health savings account (HSA), Paid family/maternity leave and California state lottery winnings.
  • California State prohibits the deduction of numerous federal deductions, including health savings account (HSA) Contributions, qualified higher education expenses, and paid state, local, or foreign income taxes. Moreover, federal deductions like charitable giving and IRA contributions are also limited.
  • In California, the supplemental wages including overtime, bonuses, awards, payments for nondeductible moving expenses, severance, paid sick leaves, and commissions are taxed at a flat rate of 6.6%, except for bonuses and earnings from stock options, which are taxed at a flat rate of 10.23%.

Step 10: Subtracting the Post-Tax Deductions and Contributions

Although employees are not charged any post-tax deductions. However, they can choose some post-tax contributions and benefits. If an employee has opted some, then its employer's duty to account them into the employee's paycheck.

Some of the common Post-Tax Contributions are:

  • Retirement funds like Roth 401(k).
  • A certain amount may also be withheld by the employer from the employee's paycheck as Wage Garnishments if the employee is subjected to any court-ordered garnishments.
  • Contributions to 529 college savings plans, Union dues or charitable donations.

Step 11: Calculating Paycheck

Once you have calculated all the details, as discussed above, then it's time to enter all your details into our Arkansas Paycheck Calculator and deduce the paycheck “Net Pay” amount instantly.

FAQs

Answer: The exact tax amount that is to be deducted from your paycheck can only be deduced according to your filing status, number of Allowances, income, and several other factors. However, giving you a general idea, the following taxes would be deducted:

  1. Federal Income Tax (Range from 0% to a top marginal rate of 37%)
  2. FICA Tax (Social Security – 12.4% + Medicare – 2.90% are shared equally between employer and employee)
  3. Employment Training Tax (ETT) (Paid by Employer Only)
  4. California Personal Income Tax (PIT) (Paid by Employees Only)
  5. Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax (Paid by Employer only)
  6. State Disability Insurance (SDI) tax (Paid by Employees Only)
  7. You may also be eligible for some other taxes. Wherefore, you are suggested to read the guide above, refer to IRS or California’s official website.

Answer: California income tax rate for 2019 ranges from 1% to 12.3%, depending on your filing status, income, and number of Allowances claimed.

Answer: SUTA (State Unemployment Tax Act) Tax rate is 3.4% in California.

Answer: California State requires the employer to pay the wage within 72 hours to the employee, if fired or has provided the (at least 72 hours) notification of voluntarily leaving the job. 

Answer: If your paycheck is late, then you are entitled to receive a full day of wages at your regular rate for a maximum of 30 days as a waiting time penalty.

Answer: Yes, California has the highest TOP tax rates of 12.3%.

Answer: Following are some of the taxes that an employer is responsible for paying:

  1. FICA Taxes (Social Security – 6.2% + Medicare – 1.45)
  2. Federal unemployment taxes (FUTA)
  3. State unemployment taxes (SUTA)
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