- Forty-four states levy a corporate income taxA corporate income tax (CIT) is levied by federal and state governments on business profits. Many companies are not subject to the CIT because they are taxed as pass-through businesses, with income reportable under the individual income tax. . Rates range from 4 percent in North Carolina to 12 percent in Iowa.
- Four states, Minnesota, Alaska, Connecticut, and New Jersey, and the District of Columbia levy corporate 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. rates of 9 percent or higher.
- Six states, North Carolina, North Dakota, Colorado, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah, have top rates at or below 5 percent.
- Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Washington impose gross receipts taxes instead of corporate income taxes. Gross receipts taxes are thought to be more economically harmful than corporate income taxes.
- South Dakota and Wyoming are the only states that do not levy a corporate income nor gross receipts taxA gross receipts tax is a tax applied to a company’s gross sales, without deductions for a firm’s business expenses, like costs of goods sold and compensation. Unlike a sales tax, a gross receipts tax is assessed on businesses and apply to business-to-business transactions in addition to final consumer purchases, leading to tax pyramiding. .
Corporate income taxes are levied in 44 states. Though often thought of as a major tax type, corporate income taxes account for just 5.3 percent of state tax collections and 3.9 percent of state general revenue.
Top statutory corporate tax rates range from a low of 4 percent in North Carolina to a high of 12 percent in Iowa. Iowa’s highest top corporate tax rate is followed by Pennsylvania’s, at 9.99 percent. Four states and the District of Columbia levy corporate taxes of 9 percent or more: Minnesota (9.84 percent), Alaska (9.4 percent), the District of Columbia (9.4 percent), Connecticut (9 percent), and New Jersey (9 percent). At the other end of the spectrum, six states have top rates at or below 5 percent: North Carolina at 4 percent, North Dakota at 4.31 percent, Colorado at 4.63 percent, and Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah at 5 percent.
Nevada, Ohio, Texas, and Washington forego corporate income taxes but instead impose gross receipts taxes on businesses, which are generally thought to be more economically harmful. Delaware and Virginia impose gross receipts taxes in addition to a corporate income tax. South Dakota and Wyoming levy neither corporate income nor gross receipts taxes.
Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia have single-rate corporate tax systems. The greater propensity toward single-rate systems in the corporate tax than in the 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. is likely because there is no meaningful “ability to pay” concept in corporate taxation. Jeffery Kwall, Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, notes that:
graduated corporate rates are inequitable—that is, the size of a corporation bears no necessary relation to the income levels of the owners. Indeed, low-income corporations may be owned by individuals with high incomes, and high-income corporations may be owned by individuals with low incomes.
A single-rate system minimizes the incentive for firms to engage in economically wasteful tax planning to mitigate the damage of higher marginal tax rateThe marginal tax rate is the amount of additional tax paid for every additional dollar earned as income. The average tax rate is the total tax paid divided by total income earned. A 10 percent marginal tax rate means that 10 cents of every next dollar earned would be taken as tax. s that some states levy as taxable incomeTaxable income is the amount of income subject to tax, after deductions and exemptions. For both individuals and corporations, taxable income differs from—and is less than—gross income. rises.
Notable Corporate Income Tax Changes in 2016
Several states implemented corporate income tax rate reductions and other reforms between 2015 and 2016. Notable corporate income tax changes for 2016 include:
- North Carolina cut its corporate income tax from 5 percent to 4 percent as a component of the multi-year phase in of its comprehensive 2013 tax reform package. The state now has the lowest rate of any state levying a corporate income tax.
- Indiana’s rate was cut by a half percentage point for the fourth straight year since 2011, from 7 percent to 6.5 percent.
- Nevada instituted a problematic “Commerce Tax,” a gross receipts tax that combines elements of the Texas Margin Tax and the Washington Business and Occupation Tax.
- Arizona’s rate decreased from 6 percent to 5.5 percent.
- The rate fell in New Mexico from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent.
- New York’s tax decreased from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent.
The following table includes the most up-to-date data available on state corporate income tax rates and brackets.
 See Mikesell, John, “Gross Receipts Taxes in State Government Finances: A Review of Their History and Performance,” Tax Foundation, January 2007, https://taxfoundation.org/article/texas-margin-tax-failed-experiment; “Broad-Based Gross Receipts Taxes: A Worthwhile Alternative?” Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, http://www.itep.org/pdf/pb40grt.pdf.
 Kwall, Jeffrey L. “The Repeal of Graduated Corporate Tax Rates.” Tax Notes (June 27, 2011): 1395. June 27, 2011.
 Malm, Liz. “North Carolina House, Senate, and Governor Announce Tax Agreement.” Tax Foundation. July 15, 2013. https://taxfoundation.org/blog/north-carolina-house-senate-and-governor-announce-tax-agreement.
 Drenkard, Scott. “Indiana’s 2014 Tax Package Continues State’s Pattern of Year-Over-Year Improvements.” Tax Foundation. April 7, 2014. https://taxfoundation.org/article/indiana-s-2014-tax-package-continues-state-s-pattern-year-over-year-improvements.
 Walczak, Jared. “Nevada Approves New Tax on Business Gross Receipts.” Tax Foundation. June 8, 2015. https://taxfoundation.org/article/nevada-approves-new-tax-business-gross-receipts.
 Duda, Jeremy. “Income Tax Cuts Emerge as Key Issues in AZ GOP Gubernatorial Race.” Arizona Capital Times. June 3, 2014. http://www.arizonatax.org/news-article/income-tax-cuts-emerge-key-issue-az-gop-gubernatorial-race.
 Malm, Liz. “New Mexico’s Lawmakers Compromise to Pass Corporate Tax Cut Reduction Package.” Tax Foundation. March 20, 2013. https://taxfoundation.org/blog/new-mexicos-lawmakers-compromise-pass-corporate-tax-cut-reduction-package.
 Henchman, Joseph. “New York Corporate Tax Overhaul Broadens Bases, Lowers Rates, and Reduces Complexity.” Tax Foundation. April 14, 2014. https://taxfoundation.org/article/new-york-corporate-tax-overhaul-broadens-bases-lowers-rates-and-reduces-complexity.