People in These States Pay the Most in Income Taxes

You may be paying a higher effective tax rate — the percentage of income an individual or couple pays in taxes for the year — depending on the state you live in.

depressed young couple calculating taxes
Updated May 13, 2024
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As we gather paperwork for annual taxes, residents of certain states will likely see more money pulled out for taxes than others. FinanceBuzz crunched the numbers to find out and compare the tax rate by state. In looking at those details, the states where people pay the most in taxes seem to do so whether filing as an individual or as a couple.

Check to see if you’re in one of the states paying the highest in income taxes.

Oregon

Nicholas Steven/Adobe Portland street sign

Individual taxpayers in Oregon have the highest income tax rate compared to any other state in the U.S., while couples are paying the second-highest total effective tax rate. One of the biggest reasons for this is the state’s effective tax rate — the highest in the country at over 7.08% for residents. State and federal tax rates combined create an effective tax rate 23.37% based on median annual income of taxpayers.

Massachusetts

thomas/Adobe Harbor

If you’re a couple filing jointly in Massachusetts, you’re facing the highest total effective tax rate in the U.S. at 23.51%. Individuals pay the second-highest rate at 23.23%. This state boasts the highest median annual income in the country, which pushes their effective federal tax rate higher. Both individual filers and couples filing jointly may see an effective federal tax rate above 18%.

Hawaii

David/Adobe Garden Chapel in Maui Hawaii

Hawaii has an effective state tax rate of 6.22% for individuals and 6.36% for couples, which places it in the top five most expensive states when it comes to residents’ tax burden. The pandemic has also caused tax revenue to crash due to a drop in tourism, and residents may have to shoulder that extra burden.

Connecticut

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Hartford Connecticut

Connecticut has a high total effective tax rate for residents in part because of its above-average effective state tax rate of 4.77% for both individuals and couples. Rising income tax rates in the state have led to some people who make more than $2 million a year finding a way to file as a non-resident or part-time resident, which has caused a decrease in tax revenue for the state.

Maryland

Kevin Ruck/Adobe City skyline Maryland

Maryland’s effective state tax rate is 4.23% for individuals and 4.29% for couples. But high local taxes in this state’s counties can bump up the tax bill for state residents.


New York

THANANIT/Adobe Statue of Liberty

For New Yorkers, it’s not just about federal and state tax rates, although they are a significant contributor to residents’ tax bills. Individuals have a total effective tax rate of 21.92% while couples face a rate of 21.41%. Unfortunately, homeowners also have to deal with the seventh-highest property taxes in the country, and living or working in New York City can add an additional tax burden for both individuals and couples.

Minnesota

andreykr/Adobe Downtown Minneapolis Minnesota

Minnesota’s effective state tax rate is 4.5% for individuals and 4.66% for couples, which is why the state has such a high tax burden. Minnesota’s progressive tax rate (which increases tax rates as taxable income goes up) reaches 9.85% for individuals earning more than $171,000 or couples earning almost $285,000.

Utah

Andrew/Adobe Downtown Provo Utah

Growth in Utah’s economy may be a contributing factor to the higher tax rates for its residents. It’s effective state tax rate of 4.95% puts it in the top 10 of state tax rates for both individuals and couples filing jointly. In fact, Utah collected almost $14 billion in tax revenue in 2021, which was a record for the state.

Virginia

William/Adobe Alexandria Virginia

One reason for Virginia’s effective state tax rate of 4.68% for individuals and 4.95% for couples may be due to the set-up of its progressive tax structure. Annual income over just $17,000 is taxed at the highest rate of 5.75% for residents. Compare that to nearby Maryland, where a 5.75% tax rate doesn’t kick in for income until it goes over $300,000.


New Jersey

Christopher Boswell/Adobe Waterfront Section Trenton New Jersey Delaware River

In addition to an effective total tax rate of 21.14% for individuals and 21.73% for couples, property taxes have a serious effect on the tax burden for New Jersey residents. The state has the highest average property taxes in the country.

Delaware

gnagel/Adobe Building in Delaware

Delaware’s effective state tax rate is 4.45% for individuals and 4.96% for couples filing jointly, which is why it’s one of the more expensive states for taxpayers. However, the state doesn’t have a sales tax, which could offset some income tax.

Illinois

zimmytws/Adobe Downtown Chicago

While this state’s effective tax rate of 4.73% for individuals or couples may not seem that bad, Illinois has a flat tax rate, meaning everyone pays the same rate no matter their income. This can hit lower- and middle-class taxpayers harder than wealthy residents when applied across the board. The state also has a large tax burden on property owners with the second-highest average property tax in the country.

Iowa

Jacob/Adobe Des Moines Iowa

One contributing factor to Iowa’s high effective state tax rate of 4.1% for individuals and 5.01% for couples is taxes from school districts in addition to state-wide taxes. State and local sales taxes also could be a contributing factor.

Georgia

Kevin Ruck/Adobe Atlanta skyline

One reason for Georgia being on this list is the way its tax brackets are formed. Individuals face an effective tax rate of 4.34% for state taxes while couples may see a 4.6% effective rate. However, it doesn’t take residents long to reach the highest tax bracket at a very low number of $7,000 in annual taxable income for individuals or $10,000 for couples. Once you reach that income level the tax rates can jump to 5.75%.

Kentucky

JMichael Photography/Adobe Abraham Lincoln's birthplace Hodgenville Kentucky

Like Illinois, Kentucky uses a flat tax rate of 5% for all residents. But that puts an additional burden on lower- and middle-class taxpayers compared to wealthier Kentucky residents. Individuals have a 20.36% total effective tax rate, while couples see 19.98% total effective tax rate.

Bottom line

Andrey Popov/Adobe African American tax professional

If these numbers seem daunting, know that there are ways to mitigate the tax burden on the money you make. Talk to a tax professional or use the best tax software available to check if there are areas where you can itemize deductions to find additional write-offs.

Take a look and see where your hometown lands on the list of income tax rates by state and then see if there’s something you can do to manage money and cut back on your state or federal tax bill.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.