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Taxes question

Orange, CA |

Can someone explain our system of taxes real quick I mean what taxes we have to pay annually, it confuses me. Federal, Income etc.

I just pay a company to take care of all that but it would be great to understand.

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Attorney answers 3


For federal taxes, see:

For California state taxes for individuals, see:

For California state taxes for businesses, see:

See also:

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.



Mr. Chen if you had to sum up taxes for a working individual who does not own a business, how would you do it? He or she has to file..... annually


As a California resident, you pay income taxes to the federal and state government. Since you do not own a business, the tax is deducted from your paycheck.

You also pay California sales tax when you purchase most goods and services. Whenever I purchase big ticket items, I try to purchase them in Orange County instead of Los Angeles County. The amount of tax savings is enough to upgrade my coffee to a mocha frappucino.

You also pay property tax if you own a home. If you rent, your rent payment indirectly pays the property tax.

Sometimes, the government taxes necessary purchases because it is an easy source of income. If you have a cellular phone, you pay government excise taxes. Look closely at your phone bill. If you have a car, you pay federal and state excise taxes when you purchase gas.

And if you engage in unhealthy or socially unacceptable habits, the government also imposes a "sin tax". For example, if you purchase cigarettes, you pay a government excise tax.

Sometimes, the government taxes things for reasons I don't quite understand. If you have to pay for parking, a portion of the fee pays a city parking tax. I personally hate this one and I go to GREAT lengths to avoid this whenever possible.

And with whatever money you have left, you pay your accountant to prepare your tax returns.


There are numerous taxes you have to pay: federal income taxes; state income taxes; sales taxes; and, when you die, possibly, estate taxes. The government needs revenue from these taxes to pay for essential services (military, highway upkeep, etc.). Sadly, there is significant waste and, for the federal government, a great deal of debt which must be serviced through interest payments. Benjamin Franklin was right: there are only two sure things: death and taxes. The good news about paying the latter is that you haven't experienced the former. Hopefully, through proper estate planning, your beneficiaries can avoid the double whammy of death taxes. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.