2024 Guide to Sales Tax in San Francisco, California

California Sales Tax Rate
San Francisco County Tax Rate
Special Tax Rate
Combined San Francisco Sales Tax Rate

Have questions about San Francisco sales tax? We have your answers! This guide covers everything you need to know about sales tax in San Francisco, CA – from the sales tax rates to how to register for sales tax.

We’ll explain how much sales tax you have to charge in San Francisco, what criteria a business has to fit to be required to charge sales tax, and how to register for sales tax in California. We’ll even walk you through how to remain sales tax compliant and automate your sales tax filings.

What is the Sales Tax in San Francisco?

The sales tax rate in San Francisco city is 8.625%. In California, the local sales tax rate you need to charge can include three rates: the California state sales tax, a country or district sales tax (which can range between 0.10% and 1%), and a special sales tax (these used to fund district-wide initiatives like transportation infrastructure and sometimes have to be voted on).

Sales Tax San Francisco

San Francisco’ sales tax rate is relatively reasonable compared to other localities across the state.  Other cities in California have a much higher sales tax rate like Alameda (10.75%) and Albany (10.75%) where you’d be paying 2% more on all purchases.

San Francisco Tax Rate Breakdown

So how does San Francisco arrive at that 8.625% rate? Here’s a breakdown of the San Francisco tax rate:

  • California state tax rate: 7.25%
  • San Francisco county tax rate: 1.00%
  • Special tax rate: 0.375%
  • Combined San Francisco tax rate: 8.625%

What is San Francisco County Sales Tax?

San Francisco County sales tax rate is 8.625%. Unlike other counties in California where the amount of sales tax charged can vary from city to city because certain municipalities charge more, San Francisco County only has one city in it so there’s only one sales tax charged across the entire county: 8.625%.

San Francisco Sales Tax vs Other California Cities

Wondering how San Francisco sales tax compares to the sales tax charged by other cities in California? Here are some examples:

  • Los Angeles sales tax: 9.5%
  • San Diego sales tax: 7.75%
  • Vista sales tax: 8.25%
  • San Fernando sales tax: 10.25%
  • Pico Rivera sales tax: 10.25%
  • Alameda sales tax: 10.75%
  • Colusa sales tax: 8.75%
  • Brentwood sales tax: 8.75

Look up more California sales tax rates here.

Who Needs to Collect Sales Tax in San Francisco?

Local and ecommerce businesses that meet California state nexus will need to collect sales tax in San Francisco. This is true if they have a bricks and mortal location in San Francisco County or if they’re remote businesses that sell to residents of San Francisco County.

There are two ways that a company might achieve sales tax nexus in the state of California: physical nexus or economic nexus.

What is Physical Nexus in California?

Physical nexus in California is when a company has some sort of physical presence in California. While this can be include being physically located in California, there are a number of other situations that you might not think would trigger physical nexus but do.

Criteria for physical nexus in California (full details):

  • A physical location such as an office, sale room, warehouse, distribution hub, storage location or any other place of business.
  • An affiliate that your business has ties to that engages in certain types of business activities on your behalf.
  • A staffer or other person working for you or your business (could include a salesperson, agent, representative, etc).
  • A rental or lease of tangible personal property to someone who lives in California.

What is Economic Nexus in California?

Economic nexus in California is achieved when a remote or ecommerce seller located out-of-state makes $500,000 worth of sales in the state within one year.

Criteria for economic nexus in California (full details):

  • When calculating economic nexus, wholesale sales must be included
  • Sales through a qualifying marketplace facilitator who is collecting taxes are not included
  • Your sales tax collection requirements begin as soon as you achieve economic nexus.

How to Get a Sales Tax Permit in San Francisco

Getting a sales tax permit in San Francisco is easy. All you need to do is register for a Californial sales tax permit online.

Here are the steps:

  1. First, meet the requirements for California nexus (see below for more info).
  2. Go to the California Department of Tax and Fees website.
  3. Answer a few questions about your business. The state’s system automatically identifies which permits you’ll need.
  4. Busy? You can save the application and finish it later.

See the State of California’s Sales Tax info pages for more info.

How Do You Charge the Right Amount for Sales Tax in San Francisco?

Thankfully, there is only one city in San Francisco County so figuring out how much to charge in sales tax in San Francisco is easier than if you were in LA County where there are multiple cities. However, San Francisco’s sales tax rate increases occasionally. So, how do you make sure that what you’re charging is up to date?

Check Routinely

Businesses that want to manage their sales tax compliance themselves will need to manually input all sales tax amounts for each city into their ecommerce software. Since sales tax increases can be passed at different times of the year, businesses would have to check monthly for changes to local, district, and state rates.

Use a sales tax compliant software solution

Sales tax compliance software makes staying on top of sales tax rates easier since it collates all the sales tax rates across thousands of tax jurisdictions to ensure that your business always charges the right amount. Software like TaxCloud takes all the manual work out of sales tax compliance.

How Do You File and Remit Sales Tax in San Francisco?

While your business might be collecting city, district, and county sales taxes in San Francisco, the good news is that you don’t need to file those taxes separately. To pay your San Francisco sales taxes, you just need to file your California sales taxes and remit your all taxes collected in the state via the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. The state of California then takes those funds and sends them along to the city, district, and county tax districts you collected taxes in.

If you find filing state sales taxes time consuming or confusing, we can help! TaxCloud is able to file your California state sales taxes automatically on your behalf.

Learn more about how TaxCloud can help you automate your sales tax compliance.