Sales taxes impact shoppers across the economic spectrum equally. These flat rate taxes sometimes impose a particularly hefty burden upon shoppers with limited available funds. With certain exceptions, California does not impose a sales tax on most grocery food items intended for human consumption. (You should expect to pay a sales tax on restaurant meals and some heated fast food items, however.)
The State of California currently charges a sales tax rate of 6%. Orange County also assesses a sales tax for some items, including a standard rate of a quarter of a percent and a special tax rate of 1.5%. The combined sales tax rate imposed by the State and the County presently stands at 7.75%.
Some California municipalities also possess the power to assess sales taxes. Consequently, in incorporated locations within Orange County (like Fountain Valley), the extra municipal tax rate for certain items raises the sales and use tax above 7.75%. The bottom line: In California, consumers need to check the sales tax rate for each specific shopping venue carefully in order to determine how much they should anticipate paying in sales tax. Currently, many Orange County communities charge far less in sales taxes than some other nearby L.A. Area cities.