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Gazett-Mail Real Estate - Articles

Thursday December 19, 2013

West Virginia Among 10 Most Tax-Friendly States

By Sally Deneen

West Virginia stands among the nation's "10 Most Tax-Friendly States," putting it alongside the likes of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, according to rankings by the personal finance news site Kiplinger.

The Mountain State’s property taxes are among the lowest in the United States, the report stated, adding that the median property tax bill for the state's median home is $464.

"Income tax rates are also modest," the report notes, as the top individual income tax rate here is 6.5 percent.

It's not the case that the state's taxes are universally lower, however. New Mexico's state sales tax, at 5.15 percent, is lower than West Virginia's 6 percent, for example. Arizona has lower gasoline taxes and state sales tax, plus its top income tax rate is lower – 4.54 percent. For married couples, that top rate doesn't kick in until taxable income exceeds $300,000, the report notes.

That's good for residents in a community like Glendale, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb where most residents are married and the household income is above national average. View Kiplinger's presentation comparing the 10 "most tax-friendly" states here.

Oddly enough, while West Virginia makes the top 10 list for tax-friendliness, the state does not make another Kiplinger list: "The 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Retirees." Same goes for its map of "States That Don't Tax Social Security."

So, tax-friendliness varies depending on what specifically is measured. If you're shopping for a state with low taxes, Intuit offers some hints on what to consider and U.S. News spells out 12 states that don't levy pension or Social Security taxes.

In the end, Kiplinger cautions that low taxes can have a downside.

"Low tax revenues may give a state less money to spend on education, transportation, public safety and other services important to you and your family," Kiplinger states.

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