Tax Guide for Insurance Tax

The Insurance Tax Program is jointly administered by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), the Board of Equalization (BOE), the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and the State Controller's Office (SCO).

The CDTFA's responsibilities regarding the Insurance Tax Program include issuing deficiency assessments, refunds, and evaluating appeals. Detailed appeals procedures are available in publication 17, Appeals Procedures. For detailed information regarding rates, please contact the CDI at 800-927-4357 or visit the CDI website.

Insurance Tax


Insurance companies approved by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) to transact insurance business in California are called admitted insurers. Admitted insurers may be subject to as many as three insurance taxes in California: For purposes of this tax guide, we will refer to admitted insurers as “insurers.”

  • Tax on gross premiums – All insurance companies are subject to tax on gross premiums.
  • A retaliatory tax – One of the schedules in the gross premiums tax return is used for the computation of retaliatory tax, owed when an insurance company is domiciled in another state which imposes higher taxes and fees on a California-domiciled insurer for the same business.
  • Ocean marine tax – The ocean marine tax applies to insurers transacting the business of ocean marine insurance in California.

Surplus Line Brokers

Licensed surplus line brokers pay a tax based on a percentage of gross premiums charged on business done in California. (Ins Code 1760 – 1780.)

How the Revenue is Used

Insurance tax revenues are deposited into the Insurance Tax Fund of the State Treasury. After refunds are drawn from the fund, the balance is transferred to the state's General Fund. (RTC 13151-13153.)

How to Use This Guide

The Getting Started section provides key information related to registration, filing returns, making payments, and other important information you need.

The Industry Topics section contains specific topics important to the insurance tax program.

The Resources section provides links to helpful information, including law and regulation information, publications, special notices, and information on how to contact us.

If You Need Help

See the How to Contact Us page for contact information.

If you have suggestions for improving this guide, please contact us by email.