Luxury Connect
Meet the Luxury Leaders | October 19-20 | Beverly Hills

Do you think your state’s property tax burden is too high?

Before you start complaining how high property taxes are in your state, take a look at the charts below to see not only property taxes are in your state, but total taxes.

Your property taxes may be high for a reason — for example, if, like Florida, your state has no income tax.

First, see how property taxes in your state compare with those in the other 49 states. The following chart shows the amount of local and state property taxes collected per capita in each state in 2009.

Property tax collections by state

StateProperty tax collections, per capitaRank
Alabama$50350
Alaska$1,72810
Arizona$1,11932
Arkansas$54949
California$1,46515
Colorado$1,27724
Connecticut$2,4732
Delaware$71243
Florida$1,58913
Georgia$1,09234
Hawaii$98335
Idaho$81340
Illinois$1,7829
Indiana$1,12431
Iowa$1,30522
Kansas$1,35319
Kentucky$66346
Louisiana$70245
Maine$1,64011
Maryland$1,20527
Massachusetts$1,8748
Michigan$1,45216
Minnesota$1,34620
Mississippi$79341
Missouri$92937
Montana$1,30123
Nebraska$1,43717
Nevada$1,31821
New Hampshire$2,2403
New Jersey$2,6631
New Mexico$60647
New York$2,1365
North Carolina$86738
North Dakota$1,16529
Ohio$1,13530
Oklahoma$59748
Oregon$1,17228
Pennsylvania$1,22725
Rhode Island$2,0187
South Carolina$97036
South Dakota$1,11133
Tennessee$74842
Texas$1,47514
Utah$86339
Vermont$2,0566
Virginia$1,43118
Washington$1,22626
West Virginia$70944
Wisconsin$1,63312
Wyoming$2,2854

Source: taxfoundation.org.

The chart shows that Florida has pretty high property taxes — 13th highest in the nation. Does that mean a Floridian would save money if he or she moved to a low property tax state like Arkansas, which ranks 49th? Not necessarily.

Each of the 50 states has its own tax system, with its own mix of taxes. In addition to property taxes, these can include:

  • income taxes
  • state sales taxes
  • 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, 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 or Wyoming.

Five have no state sales taxes: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.

All states have local property taxes, while 36 also have state property taxes.

To determine which states have the highest and lowest taxes you have to look at all of the taxes each state charges, not just property taxes.

There are various ways to measure state total tax burdens. The simplest way is to figure out each state’s taxes per capita — that is, divide the total state taxes paid by the total number of people in the state. The following chart shows the per capita taxes for each state in 2011.

Total state taxes

StateTax revenue per capitaRank
Alabama$4,85537
Alaska$17,6301
Arizona$4,19547
Arkansas$5,95716
California$5,63423
Colorado$4,30245
Connecticut$6,57012
Delaware$8,0915
Florida$3,97448
Georgia$3,80750
Hawaii$7,4537
Idaho$4,65441
Illinois$4,52742
Indiana$4,83638
Iowa$5,92117
Kansas$5,24230
Kentucky$5,40926
Louisiana$5,90818
Maine$6,21314
Maryland$5,68321
Massachusetts$6,8329
Michigan$5,54124
Minnesota$6,27913
Mississippi$5,98715
Missouri$4,51143
Montana$5,80020
Nebraska$5,11332
Nevada$3,84849
New Hampshire$4,74640
New Jersey$5,86519
New Mexico$7,2088
New York$7,6606
North Carolina$4,77339
North Dakota$9,8383
Ohio$5,37128
Oklahoma$5,34729
Oregon$5,40027
Pennsylvania$5,45925
Rhode Island$6,78811
South Carolina$4,89335
South Dakota$5,02833
Tennessee$4,31344
Texas$4,20946
Utah$4,94734
Vermont$8,9884
Virginia$4,86336
Washington$5,15631
West Virginia$6,81810
Wisconsin$5,63622
Wyoming$10,6942

Source: taxfoundation.org.

Based on this chart we can see the total mix of taxes in Florida is actually much lower than in Arkansas: Florida ranks 48th, while Arkansas ranks 16th.

Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books, including “Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Contractors, Freelancers and Consultants,” “Deduct It,” “Working as an Independent Contractor,” and “Working with Independent Contractors.” He welcomes your questions for this weekly column.