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State and Local Individual Income Tax Collections Per Capita

By Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation

Individual income taxes are the single largest source of state tax revenue in the United States, accounting for 36.5 percent of all state revenue in fiscal year 2014 despite the fact that nine states forego a tax on wage and salary income. Among states (and the District of Columbia) imposing an individual income tax on wage income, the tax accounts for an average of 43.4 percent of all state collections.

Income taxes tend to be less important to local governments overall, accounting for 4.8 percent of local tax collections. Over 91 percent of all state and local income tax revenue flows to state governments. Low collections at the local level is at least partly due, however, to their lesser ubiquity. They represent 13.8 percent of collections in the thirteen states (and the District of Columbia) permitting local income taxes, ranging from de minimus collections in Oregon to 31.7 percent of local revenue in Maryland. Local governments in six states—Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—generate more than 10 percent of their revenue from individual income taxation, as does the District of Columbia.

This week’s map shows state and local combined individual income tax collections per person in the 2014 fiscal year (latest available data). This category includes broad-based taxes on wage and salary income, as well as taxes on specific types of income, such as interest and dividend. Forty-one states have broad-based income taxes, while two (New Hampshire and Tennessee) only tax interest and dividend income. Seven states have no individual income taxes (Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming).

On average, state and local governments collected $975 per person from individual income taxes, but collections vary greatly across states, topping out at New York’s $2,176 per person. At $2,162, Connecticut is a close second, followed by Massachusetts at $1,961. Rounding out the top ten are California, Minnesota, Oregon, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Illinois.

Of states with a tax on wage income, Arizona has the lowest collections per capita at $515. Mississippi ($557), Louisiana ($592), and New Mexico ($622) have roughly comparable collections. Seven states, of course, report $0 in collections, while New Hampshire and Tennessee, which only tax interest and dividend income, collect $70 and $37 per person respectively.

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