Plate seen in Davis

Like it or not, the taxes you pay help fund civilization.

There are people out there who will help you file your taxes for a fee

Sales Tax

The current combined sales tax in Davis is 8.25%, while the sales tax on campus is 7.25%.1  The City of Davis has an additional sales tax of 1%. 

When you make a purchase,the City receives 1/4 of the sales tax charged. Unlike other taxes,the City keeps 100% of the revenue generated by city-levied tax measures. The remaining 3/4 of the 8.25% goes to Yolo County and the State.

Cold food is not taxed. Only hot food is taxed. Hot food is food that is heated such as food served in restaurants, fast food restaurants, a deli of a supermarket, or take out cart. For example, if you buy a hot sandwich at a deli it will be taxed. However, if you bought a cold sandwich at a deli, it should not be taxed. If the deli puts the cold sandwich into a microwave for a few seconds, it would then be taxed. The same goes for sandwiches at a place like a subway sandwich shop. If they toast any ingredient of the sandwich or the bread, it will be taxed.

Pet food that is manufactured to be eaten only by pets is taxed. The reason is that pet food is not to be consumed by humans. Fish bait is also taxed.

Prescriptions are not taxed. However, medications that do not require a prescription are taxed. These are called over-the-counter or OTC medications. Vitamins are taxed as they are not considered food.

Items that are downloaded on the internet are not taxed in California. For example, online purchases of downloadable music and downloadable software are not taxed

State Tax

The base California sales and use tax rate is 7.25%. 6% goes to the state, while 1.25% goes to the city or county. (California Government Breakdown on Sales Tax)

The California statewide sales and use tax rate decreased one-quarter of one percent (0.25%)  on January 1, 2017. There was a bump in sales tax rates October 1st, 2014, and before that in January 2013.2

Yolo County Property Taxes

Yolo County is responsible for assessing and issuing property tax. More information can be found on their website.

As of 2018, the effective property tax rate in the city of Davis is between 1% and 2% of the home's assessed value.  This rate isn't a fixed percentage, because the tax includes some flat taxes that are not based on the home's assessed value.  Thus, lower-value homes pay a higher effective percentage than higher-value homes.  For example, from a random sample of tax bills examined, an $830,000 house had a total tax bill of $9,918.12, for an effective tax rate of 1.19%.  A $103,000 house had a total tax bill of $2,122.36, for an effective tax rate of 2.05%.  The county portion of the tax is fixed to the legal upper limit of 1%, so the effective tax rate is always above 1%, after other city and district taxes are added on top.

You can view the tax bill for any property here.

You can find the parcel number for any property (needed to view the tax bill) here.

Various exemptions are available, but as described here, they are mostly an outdated joke (for example, if your home is worth more than $5,000, you cannot take the Veteran's exemption).

Davis receives approximately 18% of property tax revenue from Davis properties. While the exact percentage differs by neighborhood, the citywide average is 18%. Most of the remaining 82% goes to Yolo County and the Davis Joint Unified School District.

Special Assessments

In 2011, Davis voters approved Measure A, a $200 parcel tax supporting K-12 education. Senior homeowners are eligible for an exemption (Enterprise article on exemption).

In June 2016, Davis voters approved Ordinance 2469 which allowed for an additional 10% tax on purchases of non-medical (recreational) cannabis. The resolution passed with 79% support.

Voluntary Taxes

A recently-established group of Davisites is taxing themselves for gas.


1. CA Board of Equalization
2. CA Board of Equalization: History of Sales & Use Tax Rates


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2019-08-12 10:21:13   Do not buy from Amazon. Part of California sales tax goes to the City/County. When you buy from Amazon the funds that would normally go to Davis / Yolo County go elsewhere. —ToddGlenn