Individual income taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. es 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 2013 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 taxAn individual income tax (or personal income tax) is levied on the wages, salaries, investments, or other forms of income an individual or household earns. The U.S. imposes a progressive income tax where rates increase with income. The Federal Income Tax was established in 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment. Though barely 100 years old, individual income taxes are the largest source of tax revenue in the U.S. 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 2013 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 $1,070 per person from individual income taxes, but collections vary greatly across states, topping out at New York’s $2,550 per person. Connecticut comes in second at $2,172, followed by Maryland at $2,061, and Massachusetts at $1,919. Rounding out the top ten are California, Minnesota, Oregon, New Jersey, Virginia, and Illinois.
Of states with a tax on wage income, Arizona has the lowest collections per capita at $512. Mississippi ($587), Louisiana ($592), and New Mexico ($595) 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 $75 and $40 per person respectively.