Here Are the States Where Tax Filers Are Paying the Highest Percentage of Their Income

Using Census data and updated tax rates, FinanceBuzz found the states where individuals and couples will pay the highest and lowest percentage of their annual income in taxes for the 2021 tax year (filing in 2022).
Last updated Aug. 25, 2022 | By Josh Koebert | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
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With tax season about to go into full swing, FinanceBuzz looked at what kind of a tax burden the average person can expect in every state this year. Using Census data and federal and state tax rates, we calculated tax burdens as a percentage of median annual income for individuals and married couples in every state.

We found the states where people will pay the most and least in taxes, the states individual filers and couples could move to for lower taxes, and more. Read on to find out how taxes in your state stack up to the rest of the country.

In this article

The average tax burden in every state for individual filers

Map showing the effective tax rate in every state for individuals

Total Tax Burden Ranking State Total Effective Tax Rate Effective Federal Tax Rate Effective State Tax Rate
1 Oregon 23.37% 16.29% 7.08%
2 Massachusetts 23.23% 18.58% 4.65%
3 Connecticut 22.98% 18.21% 4.77%
4 Hawaii 22.48% 16.26% 6.22%
5 Maryland 22.34% 18.11% 4.23%
6 New York 21.92% 17.21% 4.71%
7 Minnesota 21.21% 16.71% 4.50%
8 Utah 21.15% 16.20% 4.95%
9 New Jersey 21.14% 18.15% 2.99%
10 Virginia 21.12% 16.44% 4.68%
11 Illinois 21.09% 16.36% 4.73%
12 Delaware 20.78% 16.33% 4.45%
13 Kentucky 20.36% 15.67% 4.69%
14 Georgia 20.22% 15.88% 4.34%
15 Colorado 20.15% 16.65% 3.49%
16 Iowa 20.13% 16.03% 4.10%
17 Kansas 20.05% 15.98% 4.07%
18 Wisconsin 20.02% 16.18% 3.85%
19 Montana 20.02% 15.70% 4.33%
20 Michigan 19.97% 16.15% 3.82%
21 Maine 19.79% 15.96% 3.83%
22 Idaho 19.75% 15.70% 4.05%
23 Alabama 19.72% 15.63% 4.09%
24 North Carolina 19.70% 15.75% 3.96%
25 Nebraska 19.50% 15.99% 3.51%
26 Pennsylvania 19.35% 16.28% 3.07%
27 South Carolina 19.29% 15.61% 3.68%
28 California 19.28% 16.41% 2.87%
29 Oklahoma 19.27% 15.60% 3.68%
30 West Virginia 19.26% 15.52% 3.74%
31 Rhode Island 19.19% 16.38% 2.80%
32 Indiana 19.06% 15.90% 3.16%
33 Arkansas 19.01% 15.42% 3.59%
34 Missouri 18.95% 15.90% 3.05%
35 Vermont 18.87% 16.23% 2.64%
36 Mississippi 18.62% 15.29% 3.33%
37 New Mexico 18.48% 15.55% 2.93%
38 Louisiana 18.26% 15.77% 2.49%
39 Ohio 17.97% 16.06% 1.91%
40 Arizona 17.88% 15.92% 1.96%
41 Washington 17.63% 17.63% 0.00%
42 North Dakota 17.07% 16.24% 0.82%
43 New Hampshire 16.97% 16.97% 0.00%
44 Alaska 16.74% 16.74% 0.00%
45 Wyoming 16.19% 16.19% 0.00%
46 Texas 15.98% 15.98% 0.00%
47 South Dakota 15.75% 15.75% 0.00%
48 Nevada 15.65% 15.65% 0.00%
49 Tennessee 15.63% 15.63% 0.00%
50 Florida 15.52% 15.52% 0.00%
Average: 19.36% 16.25% 3.12%

Our analysis looked at the “effective” tax rate, which is the percentage of income an individual or couple pays in taxes for the year. To do this, we found the median income for full-time workers and couples in every state from the U.S. Census Bureau. We then applied state and federal deductions and exemptions to that amount and used federal and state tax rates for the 2021 tax year to find how much people in each state owe in federal and state taxes. By combining those amounts, we found the total amount owed. Finally, we divided that amount by median annual income to find the effective tax rate in every state.

Individuals in Oregon have the nation’s highest tax burden, owing 23.37% of their annual income in taxes for 2021. A prime reason for this is that Oregon has the highest effective state tax rate, at over 7%. The only other state with a state-level tax rate higher than 4.95% is Hawaii, with an effective rate of 6.22%.

Oregon’s federal tax rate is only the 16th-highest in the country, but the high state-level rate launches Oregonians to the very top of the tax burden list. Interestingly, that is the inverse case for Massachusetts, which has the second-highest effective tax rate. Massachusetts residents pay their state taxes at the ninth-highest effective rate, but owe the highest rate in the country in terms of federal tax, at 18.58%. Individuals in Massachusetts earn the highest median annual income in the country, which is why they pay such a high federal tax rate.

On the other end of the spectrum, Florida residents enjoy the lowest effective tax rate at 15.52%. Florida is one of nine states that do not charge state-level income taxes. These state-tax-free states make up nine of the 10 states with the lowest overall effective tax rates. North Dakota is the only member of the bottom 10 that charges state income tax, and they only do so at a low effective rate of 0.82%.

The average tax burden in every state for couples filing jointly

Map showing the effective tax rate in every state for couples

Total Tax Burden Ranking State Total Effective Tax Rate Effective Federal Tax Rate Effective State Tax Rate
1 Massachusetts 23.51% 18.85% 4.66%
2 Oregon 23.24% 16.08% 7.16%
3 Hawaii 23.05% 16.69% 6.36%
4 Connecticut 22.99% 18.23% 4.77%
5 Maryland 22.84% 18.54% 4.29%
6 Virginia 21.92% 16.97% 4.95%
7 New Jersey 21.73% 18.50% 3.23%
8 New York 21.41% 16.76% 4.65%
9 Delaware 21.22% 16.26% 4.96%
10 Minnesota 21.14% 16.48% 4.66%
11 Illinois 21.12% 16.39% 4.73%
12 Utah 21.00% 16.05% 4.95%
13 Iowa 20.88% 15.87% 5.01%
14 Georgia 20.57% 15.97% 4.60%
15 Wisconsin 20.46% 16.03% 4.43%
16 Montana 20.46% 15.52% 4.94%
17 Colorado 20.10% 16.61% 3.49%
18 South Carolina 20.02% 15.68% 4.34%
19 Kentucky 19.98% 15.32% 4.66%
20 California 19.84% 16.80% 3.03%
21 Kansas 19.79% 15.87% 3.93%
22 North Carolina 19.70% 15.74% 3.96%
23 Michigan 19.65% 15.86% 3.79%
24 West Virginia 19.59% 14.99% 4.61%
25 Alabama 19.54% 15.46% 4.08%
26 Arkansas 19.44% 15.03% 4.42%
27 Rhode Island 19.38% 16.44% 2.95%
28 Maine 19.36% 15.72% 3.64%
29 Nebraska 19.34% 15.91% 3.43%
30 Idaho 19.33% 15.44% 3.89%
31 Pennsylvania 19.16% 16.09% 3.07%
32 Oklahoma 19.16% 15.49% 3.67%
33 Vermont 18.94% 16.11% 2.83%
34 Indiana 18.90% 15.75% 3.16%
35 Missouri 18.89% 15.70% 3.18%
36 Mississippi 18.65% 15.08% 3.57%
37 Ohio 18.34% 15.89% 2.45%
38 Louisiana 18.19% 15.71% 2.48%
39 New Mexico 18.14% 15.32% 2.82%
40 Arizona 17.67% 15.76% 1.91%
41 North Dakota 17.08% 16.20% 0.88%
42 New Hampshire 16.79% 16.79% 0.00%
43 Washington 16.72% 16.72% 0.00%
44 Alaska 16.43% 16.43% 0.00%
45 Texas 16.01% 16.01% 0.00%
46 Wyoming 15.82% 15.82% 0.00%
47 Nevada 15.81% 15.81% 0.00%
48 South Dakota 15.81% 15.81% 0.00%
49 Florida 15.63% 15.63% 0.00%
50 Tennessee 15.54% 15.54% 0.00%
Average: 19.41% 16.15% 3.25%

There are slightly different rules regarding deduction and exemption amounts for couples. Those differences combined with different income levels and tax brackets for couples produce slight differences compared to individual filers. For instance, across the entire country, the average couple owes taxes at an effective rate .05% higher than the individual average.

On the state level, there are notable shifts at the top and bottom of the list. While individuals pay the highest tax rate in Oregon, the biggest tax burden for couples falls to Massachusetts residents. In terms of the smallest tax burden for couples, Tennesseeans enjoy that luxury, with Florida having the second-lowest effective rate.

Tips for making tax season less stressful

No matter where you live, tax season can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to stay on top of your taxes and maybe even save a little in the process:

Methodology

We used the most up-to-date data from the U.S. Census Bureau to find the median income in every state for individual full-time, year-round workers as well as married couples. 

We then used federal guidelines for the 2021 tax year (filing in 2022) relating to deductions and taxable income to determine the amount of federal taxes (income and FICA) owed by individuals and couples in each state. We then used information from individual state tax and revenue department websites to determine the state-level tax owed by individuals and couples in each state for the 2021 tax year (filing in 2022). 

For this analysis, we did not include any potential deductions or exemptions relating to dependents but did include uniform deductions and exemptions available for individual filers and couples filing jointly.

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Author Details

Josh Koebert Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how personal finance overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.