Tax Foundation Releases Updated Combined State and Local Sales Tax Rates

October 16, 2009

Tennessee, California Have Highest Combined State, Average Local Sales Tax Rates

Washington, DC, October 16, 2009 -- Tennessee, California, Washington state, Oklahoma and Louisiana have the highest combined state and average local sales tax rates, according to updated information released by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation today. On the other end of the scale, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon all have the lowest combined rates of 0 percent.

"Sales taxes are at the same time transparent and opaque," said Tax Foundation Staff Economist Kail Padgitt, Ph.D., who authored Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 196, "Updated State and Local Option Sales Tax." "Taxpayers can easily see sales tax rates by looking at the receipt for any purchase, but depending on the locality in a specific state, there may be a variety of local option sales taxes in addition to the state rate." The Fiscal Fact is available online at

The states with the highest combined state-local rates are Tennessee (9.41 percent), California (9.06 percent), Washington (8.78 percent), Oklahoma (8.44 percent) and Louisiana (8.43 percent). The states with the lowest non-zero combined rates are Alaska (1.61 percent), Hawaii (4.38 percent), Maine (5 percent), Virginia (5 percent), Wisconsin (5.42 percent) and Wyoming (5.42 percent).

Four localities in central Alabama have the dubious distinction of having the highest combined sales tax: Brookwood, Coaling, Coker and Vance all have a total sales tax rate of 11 percent, with 4 percent going to the state, 5 percent going to Tuscaloosa County and 2 percent to the city.

California has the highest statewide general sales tax rate of 8.25 percent (including a 1 percent mandatory "local" add-on rate), and six states tie for the second-highest rate of 7 percent: Indiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Colorado has the lowest non-zero statewide rate of 2.9 percent, followed by seven states with a 4 percent rate: Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The states with the highest average local sales tax rates are Louisiana (4.43 percent), Colorado (4.34 percent), New York (4.3 percent), Oklahoma (3.94 percent) and Georgia (3.02 percent). The states with the lowest non-zero average local rates are Pennsylvania (0.22 percent), Hawaii (0.34 percent), Minnesota (0.34 percent), Wisconsin (0.42 percent) and Utah (0.66 percent).

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937.


Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 196, "Updated State and Local Option Sales Tax" is available online at To schedule an interview, please contact Natasha Altamirano, the Tax Foundation's Manager of Media Relations, at (202) 464-5102 or

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