When purchasing a new or used car, it is important to understand the different kinds of sales taxes and fees that you may be required to pay.  Some are required by the state and some by your dealer or others and some you may choose to pay.

California sales tax on new & used vehicles is 7.5%.

Here are typical fees:

DMV or State Fees
  Title Transfer Fee $15.00 Pay within 30 days.
  Title Only $20.00 Cannot be used for vehicles with unpaid registration fees. More Info
  Registration / Tag Fee $46.00  
  Vehicle License Fee 0.65% of value This is based on the original purchase price and decreases for the first 11 years.  This may be deducted from your state income tax.
  Smog Transfer Fee $8.00 Smog transfer fees are required on vehicles that are more than four model years old.  The fee is collected from the new owner.
  California Highway Patrol (CHP) $24  
  Reflectorized License Plate $1  
  Zero emissions vehicle parking sticker $17  
Dealership Fees
  Documentation Fees No specific limit.

Charged to cover administrative costs of the dealer related to the title, registration and other paperwork. Find out the fee early in the buying process since it may be significant.

The dealer must provide a written document with the price of specified items purchased and their effect on installment payments (California Civil Code §2982).

  Trade-in Fees Negotiable  
  Warranty Fees   Usually a basic warranty comes with the purchase of your vehicle. Your dealership may encourage you to buy extended warranties.
  Credit Insurance Fees    
  Advertising Fees Negotiable Check your invoice to see if your dealer is adding on fees related to their advertising. Usually, you can negotiate these down or completely out.
  Vehicle History Report Fees Depends It is highly recommended to get a history report when purchasing a used car. If your dealer doesn't provide this for you, there are plenty of private firms that you can use. Refer to Vehicle History Reports for more information.
  Private Sales Fees    
  Pre-sale inspection Depends A pre-sale inspection is often done when purchasing a used car.  The purchaser is usually responsible for these fees.  However, they may be well worth it if they uncover flaws that discourage you from buying the car.