California – Sales of many seasonal items are taxable, such as Christmas trees and firewood. Purchases of many holiday items are taxable even when purchased from an out-of-state retailer, ex. holiday cards and books.

California must pay “use tax” that is due on purchases they make from out-of-state retailers online who do not assess sales taxes.

Firewood sales are taxable along with labor or service charges related to firwood sales (cutting, splitting, etc). Christmas trees, wreaths, ornaments and other similar holiday items are subject to sales tax.

Sellers of these items should register with the BOE and obtain a seller’s permit. There is no sales tax exemption for charities, nonprofits, or civic organizations. Individuals or organizations that make th

ree or more sales in any 12-month period should contact the BOE to apply for a seller’s permit. Applying for a temporary seller’s permit is allowed for those planning to sell only during the holiday season.

There are agents performing inspections statewide at flea markets, Christmas tree lots and street vending locations to ensure businesses are properly registered.

Consumers should keep receipts from online purchases. When a purchase is made from an out-of-state retailer that does not collect California use tax, California consumers remain responsible for payment of use tax on their purchases.

A new Use Tax Look-Up table is included in the California income tax return instructions. This allows individuals to estimate use tax owed on non-business purchases of less than $1,000. The Look-Up Tables is intended to make it more convenient for taxpayers to comply with their use tax obligations by providing an option to report estimated use tax owed on qualifying purchases, rather than calculating and reporting their actual unpaid use tax liabilities.