A Comparison of State Tax Rates

See how your state's tax burden compares with other states.

Do you think your state's tax burden is too high? If so, where can you move with lower taxes? This question is harder to answer than you might think.
Each of the 50 states has its own tax system that is completely separate from the federal tax system administered by the IRS. State taxes can include:
  • income taxes
  • state sales taxes
  • property taxes (imposed at the state level by 36 states)
  • excise taxes--for example, taxes on gasoline, cigarettes, and liquor
  • user fees--for example, fees to camp in state parks or to drive on state highways, and
  • other taxes, such as death and gift taxes, and documentary and stock transfer taxes.
The mix of taxes the states utilize to finance their activities can vary markedly from state to state. For example, seven states don't have income taxes: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. And five have no state sales taxes: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.
To determine which states have the highest and lowest taxes you have to look at all of the taxes each state charges. For example, the fact that Washington state has no income tax doesn't necessarily mean it has lower taxes overall than Oregon, which has income tax, but no sales tax.
So how do you tell whether Oregon has lower taxes than Washington? There are various ways to measure state tax burdens. The simplest way is to figure out each state's taxes per capita--that is, divide the total taxes paid by the total number of people. The following chart shows the per capita taxes for each state in 2015:
State Tax Revenue Per Capita,
Fiscal Year 2015
State
Revenue Per Capita
Rank
Ala.
$5,068
37
Alaska
$10,418
2
Ariz.
$4,571
45
Ark.
$6,507
17
Calif.
$6,782
15
Colo.
$5,285
34
Conn.
$7,418
10
Del.
$8,006
7
Fla.
$3,921
49
Ga.
$3,868
50
Hawaii
$8,252
6
Idaho
$4,789
43
Ill.
$5,443
31
Ind.
$5,293
32
Iowa
$6,504
18
Kans.
$5,537
29
Ky.
$6,019
24
La.
$5,014
39
Maine
$6,025
22
Md.
$6,460
19
Mass.
$7,650
9
Mich.
$6,019
23
Minn.
$7,372
11
Miss.
$6,181
20
Mo.
$4,609
44
Mont.
$6,076
21
Nebr.
$5,252
35
Nev.
$4,521
46
N.H.
$4,814
42
N.J.
$6,773
16
N.M.
$8,316
5
N.Y.
$7,921
8
N.C.
$4,946
40
N.D.
$11,627
1
Ohio
$5,630
28
Okla.
$5,515
30
Ore.
$6,990
13
Pa.
$5,837
25
R.I.
$6,972
14
S.C.
$5,044
38
S.D.
$4,857
41
Tenn.
$4,187
48
Tex.
$4,516
47
Utah
$5,229
36
Vt.
$9,598
4
Va.
$5,287
33
Wash.
$5,779
27
W.Va.
$7,090
12
Wis.
$5,800
26
Wyo.
$10,314
3
However, the per capita method can be misleading. Residents of more affluent states may pay more tax per capita simply because they earn more money, not because their state taxes are higher than in poorer states. Also, some states collect substantial revenue from nonresidents. For example, Florida collects substantial tax revenue from tourists form other states and countries who pay hotel and sales taxes. This increases the Florida's taxes per capita, but these taxes are not paid by Florida residents.
A better way to rank state tax burdens is by the percentage of state residents' total income goes to state taxes.
State and Local Tax Burden as a Percentage of State Income, Fiscal Year 2017
State
Tax Burden
Rank
Ala.
6.3%
49
Alaska
6.5%
50
Ariz.
8.2%
31
Ark.
9.1%
15
Calif.
9.5%
10
Colo.
8.0%
35
Conn.
10.2%
6
Del.
5.6%
50
Fla.
6.8%
45
Ga.
8.2%
32
Hawaii
11.3%
2
Idaho
7.8%
39
Ill.
10%
9
Ind.
8.6%
23
Iowa
9.0%
19
Kans.
8.7%
20
Ky.
8.7%
22
La.
8.3%
29
Maine
10.7%
4
Md.
9.4%
12
Mass.
9.0%
18
Mich.
8.5%
26
Minn.
10.2%
5
Miss.
9.0%
17
Mo.
7.8%
38
Mont.
7.5%
41
Nebr.
9.0%
16
Nev.
8.3%
30
N.H.
6.7%
46
N.J.
10.1%
7
N.M.
8.7%
21
N.Y.
12.9%
1
N.C.
8.3%
28
N.D.
7.9%
36
Ohio
9.2%
13
Okla.
6.6%
47
Ore.
8.4%
27
Pa.
8.5%
24
R.I.
10.1%
8
S.C.
7.8%
37
S.D.
7.1%
44
Tenn.
6.5%
48
Tex.
8.0%
34
Utah
8.5%
25
Vt.
10.8%
3
Va.
7.6%
40
Wash.
8.2%
33
W.Va.
9.1%
14
Wis.
9.4%
11
Wyo.
7.3%
42
So which state has lower taxes: Oregon or Washington? Oregon residents paid $6,990 in taxes per capita in 2015, compared with $5,779 in Washington state. However, Oregon taxes amounted to 8.4% of total state income, the 27th highest in the country. Washington taxes amounted to 8.2% of total state income, the 33rd lowest in the nation. Thus, overall, state taxes on Washington residents are a smaller burden than those imposed on people who live in Oregon; however the two state’s tax burdens are quite similar.
Indeed, these charts make clear that the overall tax burdens in most states are very similar. For example, Wisconsin and Utah are ranked 11th and 35the respectively, but actually differ by less than one percentage point. At the extremes, though, the differences can be dramatic. For example, New York residents pay 12.9% of their total income in state and local taxes, compared with just 5.6% for those in Delaware.

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