What is the California corporate income tax?
California's corporate income tax is a business tax levied on the gross taxable income of most businesses and corporations registered or doing business in California. The California corporate income tax is the business equivalent of the California personal income tax. and is based on a bracketed tax system. Similar to the personal income tax, businesses must file a yearly tax return and are allowed deductions such as wages paid, cost of goods sold, and other qualifying business expenses.
What kind of businesses have to pay the California corporate income tax?
In general, all businesses operating in California which are not registered as a flow-through entity (like a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or an S-Corporation) must report their income and pay both California and Federal corporate income taxes on their earnings. The most commonly used business structure that is subject to corporate taxes is a C-Corporation.
Because C-Corporations pay corporate taxes on their revenue in addition to the personal income taxes shareholders and owners pay on profits withdrawn from the company, profits received from a C-Corporation are subject to a phenomenon known as double taxation.
S-Corporations and other flow-through entities aren't subject to the double taxation of revenue imposed on a C-Corp, because they aren't required to pay corporate taxes on their revenue. However, the owners or members of the corporation must report their share of the corporation's income on their personal tax returns and pay California and federal income tax.
All incorporated California businesses, regardless of whether or not they are required to pay any taxes, should file at least an informational tax return with the California Department of
Revenue as well as a federal business tax return (Form 1120) with the IRS.
California Corporate Income Tax Comparison A home business grossing $55,000 a year pays $4,862.00
A small business earning $500,000 a year pays $4,420.00
A corporation earning $10,000,000 a year pays $884,000.00
California Nonprofit Tax Exemptions
Certain nonprofit entities registered in California may be able to exempt some or all of their qualifying income from California and federal income taxes. Specifically, certified California 501(c) nonprofit corporations are exempt from the California corporate income tax. Some of the most common 501(c) organizations include:
Labor Unions Labor unions and worker's organizations are exempt from taxation on dues and other forms of income. Covered under § 501(c)(4) and § 501(c)(5) of the IRC. Tax-Exempt Religious Institutions Bona-fide religious institutions including churches, synagogues, and mosques are exempt from corporate income taxes under § 501(c)(3) of the IRC Educational & Scientific Institutions Nonprofit educational and scientific groups are tax-exempt, including nonprofit schools and colleges and certain research institutions. Covered under § 501(c)(3) of the IRC. Tax-Exempt Recreational Organizations Social clubs and recreational groups may collect dues and other funds as a tax-free organization as long as the primary purpose of the group is not for profit. Covered under § 501(c)(7) of the IRC. Tax-Exempt Charities Bona-fide charities are exempt from all corporate income taxes, including both religious and non-religious charities. Covered under § 501(c)(3) of the IRC.
In order to gain California tax-exempt status, a corporation must qualify as a 501(c) and obtain a Nonprofit Tax-Exempt ID Number from the IRS. California may also require nonprofits to file additional paperwork with the California Department of Revenue to gain exemption from California's corporate taxes.