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How Tax-Friendly Is Your State?

Analysis of income, state, sales and property taxes reveals the most tax-friendly states for residents.

Last Updated: 5/16/2022
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State and local governments maintain roads, run schools and pay police, and they need to fund public functions and state infrastructure. For most Americans, this additional tax burden comes from a combination of state income taxes, state and local sales taxes, and local property taxes.

Every state handles these taxes a little differently, and which state you live in has a significant impact on your wallet. But while citizens have long since considered the cost of taxes when determining if and where to move, the debate has only intensified over the past year with the rise of remote working and the idea that you're not necessarily tied to the same location as your employer.

But which states are the most tax-optimized? To generate a ranking of the tax-friendliness of U.S. states, MoneyGeek analyzed tax costs across all 50 states to measure those with the lowest tax burden, considering sales, income, and property taxes.

Key Findings:
  • Illinois has the highest tax burden in the U.S., with an estimated tax amount of $13,894 for the hypothetical family.
  • Wyoming only imposes approximately $3,279 for the same family, making it the top state in terms of tax-friendliness.
  • 4 out of 5 of the most tax-friendly states saw population growth at or above the national average (Wyoming, Nevada, Florida and Tennessee).
  • Illinois and Connecticut received a grade of E for being the least tax-friendly states in the nation. Illinois experienced a population decline, while Connecticut’s population grew by just 0.1% — lower than the national average of 0.2%.
  • Two states that were not tax-friendly that did see higher-than-average population growth were Vermont and New Hampshire, pandemic relocation hotspots for city dwellers.

See How Your Annual Tax Bill Compares With Other States

MoneyGeek estimated the state taxes paid by a married couple making the median national income of $82,852, with one child, and who own their $349,400 home to assess each state's tax-friendliness.

State
Grade
Estimated Taxes
Tax as % of Income
Change in Pop. 2021

Wyoming

A

$3,279

4.0%

0.3%

Nevada

A

$3,879

4.7%

1.0%

Alaska

A

$4,507

5.4%

0.0%

Florida

A

$4,632

5.6%

1.0%

Tennessee

A

$5,377

6.5%

0.8%

Washington

B

$5,414

6.5%

0.3%

North Dakota

B

$5,556

6.7%

-0.5%

Arizona

B

$5,665

6.8%

1.4%

South Dakota

B

$5,938

7.2%

0.9%

Delaware

B

$6,074

7.3%

1.2%

Colorado

B

$6,210

7.5%

0.5%

Louisiana

B

$6,556

7.9%

-0.6%

District of Columbia

B

$6,626

8.0%

-2.9%

California

B

$6,628

8.0%

-0.7%

Montana

B

$6,700

8.1%

1.7%

Alabama

B

$6,894

8.3%

0.3%

New Mexico

B

$6,921

8.4%

-0.1%

Hawaii

B

$6,982

8.4%

-0.7%

South Carolina

B

$7,147

8.6%

1.2%

Idaho

B

$7,198

8.7%

2.9%

Indiana

B

$7,258

8.8%

0.3%

Missouri

C

$7,639

9.2%

0.2%

North Carolina

C

$7,658

9.2%

0.9%

Utah

C

$7,783

9.4%

1.7%

West Virginia

C

$7,855

9.5%

-0.4%

Mississippi

C

$8,025

9.7%

-0.2%

Texas

C

$8,027

9.7%

1.1%

Virginia

C

$8,083

9.8%

0.1%

Kentucky

C

$8,169

9.9%

0.1%

Oklahoma

C

$8,228

9.9%

0.6%

Arkansas

C

$8,625

10.4%

0.5%

Maryland

C

$8,758

10.6%

-0.1%

Minnesota

C

$8,888

10.7%

0.0%

Georgia

C

$8,972

10.8%

0.7%

Ohio

C

$8,999

10.9%

-0.1%

Oregon

C

$9,298

11.2%

0.1%

Maine

C

$9,411

11.4%

0.7%

Pennsylvania

C

$9,542

11.5%

-0.2%

Rhode Island

C

$9,617

11.6%

-0.1%

Massachusetts

D

$9,771

11.8%

-0.5%

Kansas

D

$10,166

12.3%

0.0%

Michigan

D

$10,239

12.4%

-0.2%

Nebraska

D

$10,446

12.6%

0.1%

Vermont

D

$10,453

12.6%

0.5%

Wisconsin

D

$10,976

13.2%

0.1%

Iowa

D

$11,398

13.8%

0.1%

New York

D

$11,495

13.9%

-1.6%

New Hampshire

D

$11,694

14.1%

0.8%

New Jersey

E

$11,872

14.3%

-0.1%

Connecticut

E

$12,545

15.1%

0.1%

Illinois

E

$13,894

16.8%

-0.9%

The federal government had limited authority to collect taxes until the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified in 1913. States were left to their own devices to fund the cost of government. As a result, each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia has its own unique tax scheme. Some states rely heavily on income taxes, while others depend on sales taxes. Some states aim to keep taxes as low as possible, and others seek to maximize revenue.

States With No Sales Tax

  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Montana
  • Delaware

States With No Income Tax

Seven states do not collect tax on personal income, and Tennessee is poised to join the list:

  • Alaska
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota
  • Florida
  • Texas
  • Nevada
  • Washington

States With the Lowest Effective Property Taxes

For homeowners, the annual property tax bill can be a hefty expense. When calculating your mortgage, accounting for taxes can help you keep your housing costs in check. The states with the lowest property tax burdens are:

  • Hawaii
  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Louisiana
  • Delaware

Analysis Shows Population Growth in Lower Tax States

For many, the pandemic has altered their perceptions about where they want to live and where they can live. Millions of city-weary residents aching for more space have moved since the start of the pandemic.

Analysis of state tax burden rates and the change in population from 2020 to 2021, as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau shows a negative correlation. The lower the state and local tax burden, the higher the population growth in 2021.

Four of the five states with an A grade in tax friendliness had population growth at or above the national average.

Of the states with an E grade, two out of three had population declines in 2021. Of the nine states with a D grade, only two — New Hampshire and Vermont — had population growth higher than the national average.

The included expert insights section on this page has advice on how to manage moving and taxes.

Key Facts About Taxes

For a typical middle-class family, the difference between living in the highest-tax state in our rankings — Illinois — and the lowest — Wyoming — is nearly $10,000 a year. A breakdown of the state-by-state tax picture reveals:

  • Illinois imposes the highest tax burden. A hypothetical middle-income family would pay $13,894 a year in state and local income, sales and property taxes.
  • Wyoming collects the least. The same family with the same financial picture would spend just $3,279.
  • Mississippi is in the middle of the pack. A typical family would pay $8,025 a year in state and local taxes.

You’re probably not going to pick up and move simply to avoid state and local taxes. There are simpler ways to cut your tax bill, like saving for retirement, calculating business expenses and taking advantage of education credits and deductions. But if you’re pondering a relocation for professional or personal reasons, taking tax implications into consideration could help you choose your next move.

Expert Insights: Moving and Taxes

Making the move to a different state is a big step, and from a tax perspective, it can get complicated. MoneyGeek interviewed several experts to elaborate on the unique tax issues that moving presents and what you may need to take into account if you're thinking about making a move across state lines. The views expressed are the opinions and insights of the individual contributors.

  1. What tax implications should someone consider if they are moving from one state to another? What records would they need to show, if any?
  2. What factors determine where your true home is?
  3. How does working remotely affect one’s taxes? Similarly, what if you work in one place but choose to live in another because you can now work from home? What happens if you choose to work remotely out of another state for a period of time?
  4. How can someone looking to optimize their taxes do so by moving states?
Francine Lipman
Francine Lipman

Professor of Law at University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV)

Edward Zelinsky
Edward Zelinsky

Morris and Annie Trachman Professor of Law

Sharon Ackerman
Sharon Ackerman

Director, State and Local Taxation at Anchin, Block & Anchin

John Bonk
John Bonk

Partner and State & Local Tax Leader, Marcum Accountants and Advisors

Jared Walczak
Jared Walczak

Vice President of State Projects, Tax Foundation

Henry Grzes
Henry Grzes

Henry Grzes, Lead Manager for Tax Practice & Ethics American Institute of CPAs

Ani Hovanessian
Ani Hovanessian

Partner and Chair of the New York Tax and Wealth Planning Group at Venable LLP

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee

Senior Wealth Manager at Plancorp

Nancy Anderson
Nancy Anderson

National Director of Wealth Planning & Trust Services, Calamos Wealth Management

Jeff Zhou
Jeff Zhou

CEO & Co-Founder of Fig Loans

Kimberly S. Krieg, PhD, CPA
Kimberly S. Krieg, PhD, CPA

Assistant Professor of Accounting at the University of San Diego School of Business

Marcia Nally, CPA
Marcia Nally, CPA

Partner with Moore Colson CPAs and Advisors

Steven J. Weil, Ph.D.
Steven J. Weil, Ph.D.

President, Enrolled Agent and Licensed Community Association Manager at RMS Accounting

Vincenzo Villamena, CPA
Vincenzo Villamena, CPA

CEO at Online Taxman

Craig Lawless
Craig Lawless

Principal, State and Local Tax, at The Bonadio Group

Christian J. Burgos, J.D., LL.M., CMI
Christian J. Burgos, J.D., LL.M., CMI

Managing Principal at Friedman LLP State and Local Tax Practice

Mark McKnight
Mark McKnight

Associate Professor of Accounting at the University of Southern Indiana

Leanne Scott, JD, LL.M.
Leanne Scott, JD, LL.M.

Tax Principal at Baker Newman Noyes

Thomas M. Spade, CPA
Thomas M. Spade, CPA

Instructor of Accounting, College of Charleston

Daniel Shaviro
Daniel Shaviro

Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation at NYU Law School

Vincent J. Cincotta
Vincent J. Cincotta

Tax Principal, CPA

Wilton Hyman
Wilton Hyman

Professor of Law at New England

Susan Petracco
Susan Petracco

Vice President of Integrations at AccurateTax

Michael Eckstein
Michael Eckstein

Enrolled Agent and Owner at Resting Business Face and Eckstein Tax Services

Edward Charles Randle, Ph.D., CPA
Edward Charles Randle, Ph.D., CPA

Assistant Professor of Accounting at Winthrop University

John Petosa
John Petosa

Professor of Practice at Syracuse University

Krystal Pino, CPA, PFS
Krystal Pino, CPA, PFS

Founder at Nomad Tax

Mitchell Novitsky
Mitchell Novitsky

Director, Eisner Advisory Group LLC

Joshua Zimmelman
Joshua Zimmelman

Managing Director of Westwood Tax & Consulting

Suchot Sunday
Suchot Sunday

Entrepreneur & Business Coach

Methodology

To calculate the least and most tax-friendly states, we researched income, sales and property tax rates by state. Using expenditure and income data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, we constructed a hypothetical family with one dependent, gross income of $82,852, and a home worth $349,400 (the median new home price at the time we conducted our research). We then estimated the state taxes this hypothetical family would pay in each state. We ranked the states based on the estimated total taxes and assigned letter grades from A to E based on the size of the tax payment.

About the Author


expert-profile

A veteran business journalist, Jeff Ostrowski writes about money for the Palm Beach Post in Florida. Ostrowski is proud to say he knows how to use a financial calculator to amortize a mortgage.


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