Regular readers of Tax Foundation reports know that we publish estimates of the distributional impact of federal tax changes: that is, we estimate how a tax reform might affect the after-tax incomes of taxpayers at...
- When Did Your State Adopt Its Income Tax?
When Did Your State Adopt Its Income Tax?
This week’s map is the adoption years of state individual income taxes. This information isn’t widely available on the internet, but we happened to have it in our archives in the 1994 edition of Significant Features of Fiscal Federalism, produced by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
We’ve organized the states by decade here, and you can see that the most active one was the 1930s, where western states enacted the tax as an emergency measure as a reaction to property tax collection slumps during the Great Depression. Ten states adopted individual income taxes before 1920, with Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Mississippi even doing so before the adoption of the federal income tax in 1913. While Hawaii is technically the first state to adopt an income tax (in 1901), it’s important to mention that Hawaii was not granted statehood until 1959.
Every state has an income tax except for Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Alaska is notable in that it is the only state to repeal an existing income tax (in 1979), while all the other states on that list have always gone without one. New Hampshire and Tennessee also deserve mention, as their income taxes do not and have not ever applied to wage income, instead only taxing interest and dividend income. Connecticut originally imposed it's income tax on capital gains, interest, and dividends, and expanded its tax to wages in 1991.
Get Email Updates from the Tax Foundation
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.