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5 most, 5 least Tax-friendly States for Retirees

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Even the best prepared among us can forget to consider certain retirement expenses, and with that in mind, GoBankingRates.com has ranked each state in the country by one expense factor that many do omit from their calculations: the overall taxes paid by retirees.

After all, some states are financially friendlier than others to retirees, exempting some or all of retirement income, while others tax everything and then some.

Additional taxes such as that on personal property, sales tax on purchases, and even the tax rate itself were figured into the equation to come up with where each state in the nation stands when it comes to preserving (or collecting) retirees’ income.

Of course, taxes aren’t the only factor that should figure into retirement preparedness calculations. Even if a state isn’t particularly tax friendly, it might turn out to be a better choice because of overall cost of living, access to health care or proximity to kids, grandkids and friends.

In grading states on their tax structures, GOBankingRates examined four tax rates: the average state and local sales tax, sourced from the Tax Foundation; the state tax on Social Security benefits, sourced from Kiplinger; the effective state property tax, sourced from the National Association of Home Builders; and the state income tax rate based on the median income of adults ages 65–74, sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. State tax on Social Security benefits was weighted twice as much as other taxes.

Here are the 5 most and 5 least tax-friendly states for retirees, as determined by GoBankingRates.com.

5 most tax-friendly states for retirement

Puget Sound, Washington State (Photo: AP)

5. Washington

 

Income tax: None

Property tax: 0.89 percent

State sales tax: 6.29 percent

State tax on Social Security: None

The fact that the state of Washington has no state income tax or a tax on Social Security makes it a prime contender for a retirement haven. And if you add to that the fact that its property tax rate is lower than in half of the states, that just ups the ante.

Oh, and one more thing: its capital Olympia is also one of the most affordable cities for retirees who want an active lifestyle, according to another GOBankingRates study.

4. New Hampshire

 

Income tax: None

Property tax: 1.94 percent

State sales tax: None

State tax on Social Security: None

If you’re looking for tax freedom, New Hampshire is your place—especially for retirees. There is one exception, though; the state would rank even higher on this list if it weren’t for its property taxes, which are the third highest in the country.

Still, it has no sales tax, no state income tax and no tax on Social Security.

 

Delaware beach (Photo: Getty)

3. Delaware

 

Income tax: 5.55 percent

Property tax: 0.57 percent

State sales tax: None

State tax on Social Security: None

In addition to being a very business-friendly state, Delaware is also one of the best states to retire taxwise because there is no state tax on Social Security or sales tax.

And if you’re a homeowner, you make out too, since its property tax rate is among the lowest in the state rankings.

2. Wyoming

 

Income tax: None

Property tax: 0.52 percent

State sales tax: 5.41 percent

State tax on Social Security: None

Wyoming has a lot to offer retirees, and top among them is a lack of taxes on Social Security benefits. Add to that (or subtract, maybe?) the fact that it also lacks a state income tax and that among the taxes it does have, its sales and property tax rates are among the lowest in the U.S. and you’ve got a place that’s really retiree friendly.

Oh, and one more thing: it’s also one of the best states to retire rich, owing to its relatively low cost of living and competitive rates on interest-bearing savings accounts.

1. Alaska

 

Income tax: None

Property tax: 0.97 percent

State sales tax: 1.76 percent

State tax on Social Security: None

If you were to choose solely on the basis of tax, Alaska is the most tax-friendly state for retirees. With no state income tax or tax on Social Security, as well as the fifth lowest sales tax rate in the country, the Last Frontier (with apologies to Star Trek fans) definitely comes out on top.

But be warned: the cost of living in Alaska is higher than that of most states—and that could make all the difference.

 

5 least tax-friendly states for retirement

The Arch in St. Louis, Missouri (Photo: AP)

5. Missouri

 

Income tax: 6 percent

Property tax: 0.96 percent

State sales tax: 7.89 percent

State tax on Social Security: Not taxed for single taxpayers with AGI less than $85,000 and married couples with AGI less than $100,000

You might have thought that the Show-Me State wouldn’t impose such high taxes on its residents, but you’d be wrong. Seniors should beware of their tax bills in Missouri, with the 13th highest sales tax and 12th highest income tax in the rankings.

And then there are its property taxes—higher in Missouri than in more than half of the states. Even Social Security is taxed for high-income taxpayers, so those with a comfortable retirement income should maybe think twice before moving here.

4. Kansas

 

Income tax: 4.9 percent

Property tax: 1.26 percent

State sales tax: 8.62 percent

State tax on Social Security: Exempt from Kansas income tax for residents with federal AGI of $75,000 or less

Not only will you be forking over taxes on your Social Security benefits in Kansas, it’s gonna cost you more every time you go to the store; the state has one of the highest sales tax rates in the U.S.

And don’t think owning your own home will save you money; the property tax rate in Kansas is higher than in a majority of states, which means you’ll have less money left to pay other bills.

Silver Sands State Park, Connecticut (Photo: AP)

3. Connecticut

 

Income tax: 5 percent

Property tax: 1.66 percent

State sales tax: 6.35 percent

State tax on Social Security: Exempt for individual taxpayers with federal AGI less than $50,000 and married taxpayers filing jointly with federal AGI less than $60,000

It may be a lovely place to live, but Connecticut has the sixth-highest property tax rate in the country.

When you add to that a relatively high income tax rate, it raises the real danger that retirees could also be shelling out for taxes on Social Security benefits if they’re single and have an AGI higher than $50,000, or if they’re married and filing jointly with an AGI above $60,000.

2. Minnesota

 

Income tax: 7.05 percent

Property tax: 1.09 percent

State sales tax: 7.3 percent

State tax on Social Security: Taxed to the extent they are taxed at the federal level

Even though fewer than half the states tax Social Security benefits—just 13 do—Minnesota is one of them.

It also has the fifth highest income tax rate, and expects residents to keep buying homes and shopping even when its property tax and sales tax rates are higher than in more than half of the other states.

1. Nebraska

 

Income tax: 5.01 percent

Property tax: 1.6 percent

State sales tax: 6.89 percent

State tax on Social Security: Taxpayer can subtract Social Security income included in federal adjusted gross income if AGI is less than or equal to $58,000 for married couples filing jointly or $43,000 for other filers

The cost of living is low in Lincoln, the state capital, so ironically that’s one of the cities where your retirement egg will stretch the furthest. But that’s where the bargains end.

Taxes here will more than sting, with sales and income tax rates higher in Nebraska than in more than half of the states.

Property taxes? Eighth highest in the country. And when you tack on state taxes on Social Security income, you might want to think twice before retiring here.

Source: Benefits Pro

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