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How High are Corporate Tax Rates in Your State?

By Nicole Kaeding of the Tax Foundation

FISCAL FACT No. 497: State Corporate Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2016 (PDF)

State Corporate Income Tax Rates and Brackets for 2016 (EXCEL)

Key Findings:

  • Forty-four states levy a corporate income tax. Rates range from 4 percent in North Carolina to 12 percent in Iowa.
  • Four states, Minnesota, Alaska, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and the District of Columbia levy corporate income tax rates of 9 percent or higher.
  • Six states, North Carolina, North Dakota, Colorado, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah, have top rates at or below 5 percent.
  • Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Washington impose gross receipts taxes instead of corporate income taxes. Gross receipts taxes are thought to be more economically harmful than corporate income taxes.
  • South Dakota and Wyoming are the only states that do not levy a corporate income nor gross receipts tax.

Corporate income taxes are levied in 44 states. Though often thought of as a major tax type, corporate income taxes account for just 5.3 percent of state tax collections and 3.9 percent of state general revenue.[1]

Top statutory corporate tax rates range from a low of 4 percent in North Carolina to a high of 12 percent in Iowa. Iowa’s highest top corporate tax rate is followed by Pennsylvania’s, at 9.99 percent. Four states and the District of Columbia levy corporate taxes of 9 percent or more: Minnesota (9.84 percent), Alaska (9.4 percent), the District of Columbia (9.4 percent), Connecticut (9 percent), and New Jersey (9 percent). At the other end of the spectrum, six states have top rates at or below 5 percent: North Carolina at 4 percent, North Dakota at 4.31 percent, Colorado at 4.63 percent, and Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah at 5 percent.

Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Washington forego corporate income taxes but instead impose gross receipts taxes on businesses, which are generally thought to be more economically harmful.[2] Delaware and Virginia impose gross receipts taxes in addition to a corporate income tax. South Dakota and Wyoming levy neither corporate income nor gross receipts taxes.

Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia have single-rate corporate tax systems. The greater propensity toward single-rate systems in the corporate tax than in the individual income tax is likely because there is no meaningful “ability to pay” concept in corporate taxation. Jeffery Kwall, Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, notes that:

graduated corporate rates are inequitable—that is, the size of a corporation bears no necessary relation to the income levels of the owners. Indeed, low-income corporations may be owned by individuals with high incomes, and high-income corporations may be owned by individuals with low incomes.[3]

A single-rate system minimizes the incentive for firms to engage in economically wasteful tax planning to mitigate the damage of higher marginal tax rates that some states levy as taxable income rises.

Notable Corporate Income Tax Changes in 2016

Several states implemented corporate income tax rate reductions and other reforms between 2015 and 2016. Notable corporate income tax changes for 2016 include:

  • North Carolina cut its corporate income tax from 5 percent to 4 percent as a component of the multi-year phase in of its comprehensive 2013 tax reform package. The state now has the lowest rate of any state levying a corporate income tax.[4]
  • Indiana’s rate was cut by a half percentage point for the fourth straight year since 2011, from 7 percent to 6.5 percent.[5]
  • Nevada instituted a problematic “Commerce Tax,” a gross receipts tax that combines elements of the Texas Margin Tax and the Washington Business and Occupation Tax.[6]
  • Arizona’s rate decreased from 6 percent to 5.5 percent.[7]
  • The rate fell in New Mexico from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent.[8]
  • New York’s tax decreased from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent.[9]

The following table includes the most up-to-date data available on state corporate income tax rates and brackets.


[1] “State & Local Government Finance, Fiscal Year 2013.” U.S. Census Bureau.http://www.census.gov/govs/local/.

[2] See Mikesell, John, “Gross Receipts Taxes in State Government Finances: A Review of Their History and Performance,” Tax Foundation, January 2007,http://taxfoundation.org/article/gross-receipts-taxes-state-government-finances-review-their-history-and-performance; Drenkard, Scott, “The Texas Margin Tax: A Failed Experiment,” Tax Foundation, January 14, 2015, http://taxfoundation.org/article/texas-margin-tax-failed-experiment; “Broad-Based Gross Receipts Taxes: A Worthwhile Alternative?” Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy,http://www.itep.org/pdf/pb40grt.pdf.

[3] Kwall, Jeffrey L. “The Repeal of Graduated Corporate Tax Rates.” Tax Notes (June 27, 2011): 1395.  June 27, 2011.

[4] Malm, Liz. “North Carolina House, Senate, and Governor Announce Tax Agreement.” Tax Foundation. July 15, 2013. http://taxfoundation.org/blog/north-carolina-house-senate-and-governor-announce-tax-agreement.

[5] Drenkard, Scott. “Indiana’s 2014 Tax Package Continues State’s Pattern of Year-Over-Year Improvements.” Tax Foundation. April 7, 2014.http://taxfoundation.org/article/indiana-s-2014-tax-package-continues-state-s-pattern-year-over-year-improvements.

[6] Walczak, Jared. “Nevada Approves New Tax on Business Gross Receipts.” Tax Foundation. June 8, 2015. http://taxfoundation.org/article/nevada-approves-new-tax-business-gross-receipts.

[7] Duda, Jeremy. “Income Tax Cuts Emerge as Key Issues in AZ GOP Gubernatorial Race.” Arizona Capital Times. June 3, 2014. http://www.arizonatax.org/news-article/income-tax-cuts-emerge-key-issue-az-gop-gubernatorial-race.

[8] Malm, Liz. “New Mexico’s Lawmakers Compromise to Pass Corporate Tax Cut Reduction Package.” Tax Foundation. March 20, 2013.http://taxfoundation.org/blog/new-mexico%E2%80%99s-lawmakers-compromise-pass-corporate-tax-cut-reduction-package.

[9] Henchman, Joseph. “New York Corporate Tax Overhaul Broadens Bases, Lowers Rates, and Reduces Complexity.” Tax Foundation. April 14, 2014.http://taxfoundation.org/article/new-york-corporate-tax-overhaul-broadens-bases-lowers-rates-and-reduces-complexity.

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