Major Metropolitan Area Sales Tax Rates

August 19, 2010

Download Fiscal Fact No. 239

Fiscal Fact No. 239

Introduction

General sales taxes levied by state, county and city governments in the United States vary greatly, even among major metropolitan areas. For purposes of this analysis, “major metropolitan areas” are those with populations greater than 200,000 individuals, of which there are 107 in the United States.

The 25 metropolitan areas with the highest combined sales tax rates—state rate plus county rate plus city rate—are shown in Table 1. Two Alabama cities, Montgomery and Birmingham, have the highest combined sales tax rates in the nation. Until recently Chicago had that distinction, but Cook County lowered its rate by 0.5%, effective July 1, 2010.

Unsurprisingly, none of the highest-taxing cities are located in the five states that levy no state-level tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. But some of these high-taxing cities have a zero rate at either the county or city level. In four cities—St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville and New York City—there is no county-level sales tax; and in eight cities—Oakland, Fremont, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Fresno—there’s no city-level tax.

Table 1
State, County and City Sales Tax Rates in Cities with Population Over 200,000, Ranked by Combined Sales Tax Rate
Rates as of July 1, 2010

Geographic Area

Sales Tax Rate

Rank

Locality

State

State

County

City

Total

Birmingham

AL

4.000%

2.000%

4.000%

10.000%

1

Montgomery

AL

4.000%

2.500%

3.500%

10.000%

1

Long Beach

CA

7.250%

2.000%

0.500%

9.750%

3

Los Angeles

CA

7.250%

2.000%

0.500%

9.750%

3

Oakland

CA

7.250%

2.500%

0.000%

9.750%

3

Fremont

CA

7.250%

2.500%

0.000%

9.750%

3

Chicago

IL

6.250%

2.250%

1.250%

9.750%

3

Glendale

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

2.200%

9.600%

8

Seattle

WA

6.500%

3.000%

0.000%

9.500%

9

San Francisco

CA

7.250%

2.250%

0.000%

9.500%

9

St. Louis

MO

4.225%

0.000%

5.266%

9.491%

11

Phoenix

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

2.000%

9.400%

12

Memphis

TN

7.000%

0.000%

2.250%

9.250%

13

Nashville

TN

7.000%

0.000%

2.250%

9.250%

13

San Jose

CA

7.250%

2.000%

0.000%

9.250%

13

Tucson

AZ

6.600%

0.600%

2.000%

9.200%

16

Mesa

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

1.750%

9.150%

17

Scottsdale

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

1.650%

9.050%

18

Stockton

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.250%

9.000%

19

New Orleans

LA

4.000%

5.000%

0.000%

9.000%

19

Baton Rouge

LA

4.000%

5.000%

0.000%

9.000%

19

Fresno

CA

7.250%

1.725%

0.000%

8.975%

22

Chandler

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

1.500%

8.900%

23

Gilbert

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

1.500%

8.900%

23

New York City

NY

4.000%

0.000%

4.875%

8.875%

25

Source: Sales Tax Clearinghouse, Census Bureau, and Tax Foundation

Although many of the most populous cities do rank in the highest-taxing 25 cities listed in Table 1, there are exceptions. The most populous city, New York City, barely squeezed into the top-taxing cities with an 8.875% combined tax rate, ranking 25th highest nationwide. Houston, Philadelphia, Denver and several other cities among the nation’s largest are making do with even lower combined sales tax rates. Table 2 shows the state, county, and city sales tax rates in the 25 most populous cities.

Table 2
State, County and City Sales Tax Rates in the Top 25 Most Populous Cities
Rates as of July 1, 2010

Metropolitan Area

Sales Tax Rates

City

State

State

County

City

Total

New York City

NY

4.000%

0.000%

4.875%

8.875%

Los Angeles

CA

7.250%

2.000%

0.500%

9.750%

Chicago

IL

6.250%

2.250%

1.250%

9.750%

Houston

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

Phoenix

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

2.000%

9.400%

Philadelphia

PA

6.000%

0.000%

2.000%

8.000%

San Antonio

TX

6.250%

0.750%

1.125%

8.125%

San Diego

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.000%

8.750%

Dallas

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

San Jose

CA

7.250%

2.000%

0.000%

9.250%

Detroit

MI

6.000%

0.000%

0.000%

6.000%

San Francisco

CA

7.250%

2.250%

0.000%

9.500%

Jacksonville

FL

6.000%

1.000%

0.000%

7.000%

Indianapolis

IN

7.000%

0.000%

0.000%

7.000%

Austin

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

Columbus

OH

5.500%

1.250%

0.000%

6.750%

Fort Worth

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

Charlotte

NC

5.750%

2.500%

0.000%

8.250%

Memphis

TN

7.000%

0.000%

2.250%

9.250%

Boston

MA

6.250%

0.000%

0.000%

6.250%

Baltimore

MD

6.000%

0.000%

0.000%

6.000%

El Paso

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

Seattle

WA

6.500%

3.000%

0.000%

9.500%

Denver

CO

2.900%

1.200%

3.620%

7.720%

Nashville

TN

7.000%

0.000%

2.250%

9.250%

Source: Sales Tax Clearinghouse, Census Bureau, and Tax Foundation

Sales Tax Bases Are Another Story

These tables of rates do not take into account state, county or city exemptions of various items from sales taxation, nor do they account for selective lower or higher rates. For instance, some states tax groceries at the general sales tax rate, some at a reduced rate, and some grant an exemption. But even among those governments that grant a total exemption, they draw up long lists of grocery items that they deem worthy and unworthy of the exemption, and those lists change depending on the shifting opinions of state and local legislators. And groceries are just one of many hundreds of retail and wholesale goods and services on which governments decide whether to impose sales tax.

The Tourism Factor

Sales taxes are a staple of state and local revenues. For the larger cities listed here, sales taxes also affect visitors and tourists. Florida and Nevada are renowned for imposing no wage tax on their residents, choosing instead to fund many of their government programs with sales tax revenue that often comes from tourists. Large cities have an increased demand for government services (roads, police, etc.) and a higher rate of tourism, so it should not be particularly surprising that they tend to have higher reliance on the sales tax.

Rate Your City’s Sales Tax on a Scale of Zero to Ten

The combined sales tax rate varies from zero to 10 percent in the 107 U.S. cities with a population above 200,000. Those cities account for around 62 million residents or one-fifth of the U.S. population (see Table 3).

Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, have the dubious honor of levying the highest combined sales tax rate, 10%; Anchorage, Alaska, and Portland, Oregon, are the only large cities that levy a zero sales tax at all levels of state and local government.

The county level rates vary from 5% in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to 0% in 28 of the 107 cities. The city-level tax has about the same rate of fluctuation, from 5.266% in St. Louis, Missouri, to 0% in 57 of the 107 cities.

Table 3
State, County, and Local Tax Rates in Cities with Population of 200,000, Ranked by Total Rate
Rates as of July 1, 2010

Geographic Area

Sales Tax

Rank

Locality

State

State

County

City

Total

Akron

OH

5.500%

1.000%

0.000%

6.500%

88

Albuquerque

NM

5.125%

0.938%

0.937%

7.000%

85

Anaheim

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.000%

8.750%

26

Anchorage

AK

0.000%

0.000%

0.000%

0.000%

106

Arlington

TX

6.250%

0.000%

1.750%

8.000%

57

Arlington

VA

4.000%

1.000%

0.000%

5.000%

100

Atlanta

GA

4.000%

3.000%

1.000%

8.000%

57

Aurora

CO

2.900%

1.450%

3.750%

8.100%

53

Austin

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

43

Bakersfield

CA

7.250%

1.000%

0.000%

8.250%

43

Baltimore

MD

6.000%

0.000%

0.000%

6.000%

92

Baton Rouge

LA

4.000%

5.000%

0.000%

9.000%

19

Birmingham

AL

4.000%

2.000%

4.000%

10.000%

1

Boise City

ID

6.000%

0.000%

0.000%

6.000%

92

Boston

MA

6.250%

0.000%

0.000%

6.250%

91

Buffalo

NY

4.000%

4.750%

0.000%

8.750%

26

Chandler

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

1.500%

8.900%

23

Charlotte

NC

5.750%

2.500%

0.000%

8.250%

39

Chesapeake

VA

4.000%

0.000%

1.000%

5.000%

100

Chicago

IL

6.250%

2.250%

1.250%

9.750%

7

Chula Vista

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.000%

8.750%

26

Cincinnati

OH

5.500%

1.000%

0.000%

6.500%

88

Cleveland

OH

5.500%

2.250%

0.000%

7.750%

62

Colorado Springs

CO

2.900%

2.000%

2.500%

7.400%

71

Columbus

OH

5.500%

1.250%

0.000%

6.750%

86

Corpus Christi

TX

6.250%

0.625%

1.375%

8.250%

39

Dallas

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

43

Denver

CO

2.900%

1.200%

3.620%

7.720%

69

Detroit

MI

6.000%

0.000%

0.000%

6.000%

92

Durham

NC

5.750%

2.000%

0.000%

7.750%

62

El Paso

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

43

Fort Wayne

IN

7.000%

0.000%

0.000%

7.000%

73

Fort Worth

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

43

Fremont

CA

7.250%

2.500%

0.000%

9.750%

3

Fresno

CA

7.250%

1.725%

0.000%

8.975%

22

Garland

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

43

Gilbert

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

1.500%

8.900%

23

Glendale

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

2.200%

9.600%

8

Greensboro

NC

5.750%

2.000%

0.000%

7.750%

62

Henderson

NV

6.850%

1.250%

0.000%

8.100%

53

Hialeah

FL

6.000%

1.000%

0.000%

7.000%

79

Honolulu

HI

4.000%

0.000%

0.500%

4.500%

105

Houston

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

43

Indianapolis

IN

7.000%

0.000%

0.000%

7.000%

73

Irvine

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.000%

8.750%

26

Irving

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

43

Jacksonville

FL

6.000%

1.000%

0.000%

7.000%

79

Jersey City

NJ

7.000%

0.000%

0.000%

7.000%

73

Kansas City

MO

4.225%

1.125%

2.375%

7.725%

67

Laredo

TX

6.250%

0.750%

1.250%

8.250%

39

Las Vegas

NV

6.850%

1.250%

0.000%

8.100%

53

Lexington

KY

6.000%

0.000%

0.000%

6.000%

92

Lincoln

NE

5.500%

0.000%

1.500%

7.000%

73

Long Beach

CA

7.250%

2.000%

0.500%

9.750%

3

Los Angeles

CA

7.250%

2.000%

0.500%

9.750%

3

Louisville

KY

6.000%

0.000%

0.000%

6.000%

92

Lubbock

TX

6.250%

0.500%

1.500%

8.250%

39

Madison

WI

5.000%

0.500%

0.000%

5.500%

99

Memphis

TN

7.000%

0.000%

2.250%

9.250%

13

Mesa

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

1.750%

9.150%

17

Miami

FL

6.000%

1.000%

0.000%

7.000%

79

Milwaukee

WI

5.000%

0.600%

0.000%

5.600%

98

Minneapolis

MN

6.875%

0.150%

0.750%

7.775%

61

Modesto

CA

7.250%

1.125%

0.000%

8.375%

36

Montgomery

AL

4.000%

2.500%

3.500%

10.000%

1

Nashville

TN

7.000%

0.000%

2.250%

9.250%

13

New Orleans

LA

4.000%

5.000%

0.000%

9.000%

19

New York City

NY

4.000%

0.000%

4.875%

8.875%

25

Newark

NJ

7.000%

0.000%

0.000%

7.000%

73

Norfolk

VA

4.000%

0.000%

1.000%

5.000%

100

North Las Vegas

NV

6.850%

1.250%

0.000%

8.100%

53

Oakland

CA

7.250%

2.500%

0.000%

9.750%

3

Oklahoma City

OK

4.500%

0.000%

3.875%

8.375%

36

Omaha

NE

5.500%

0.000%

1.500%

7.000%

73

Orlando

FL

6.000%

0.500%

0.000%

6.500%

88

Philadelphia

PA

6.000%

0.000%

2.000%

8.000%

57

Phoenix

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

2.000%

9.400%

12

Pittsburgh

PA

6.000%

1.000%

0.000%

7.000%

79

Plano

TX

6.250%

1.000%

1.000%

8.250%

43

Portland

OR

0.000%

0.000%

0.000%

0.000%

106

Raleigh

NC

5.750%

2.000%

0.000%

7.750%

62

Reno

NV

6.850%

0.875%

0.000%

7.725%

67

Richmond

VA

4.000%

0.000%

1.000%

5.000%

100

Riverside

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.000%

8.750%

26

Rochester

NY

4.000%

4.000%

0.000%

8.000%

57

Sacramento

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.000%

8.750%

26

San Antonio

TX

6.250%

0.750%

1.125%

8.125%

52

San Diego

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.000%

8.750%

26

San Francisco

CA

7.250%

2.250%

0.000%

9.500%

9

San Jose

CA

7.250%

2.000%

0.000%

9.250%

13

Santa Ana

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.000%

8.750%

26

Scottsdale

AZ

6.600%

0.800%

1.650%

9.050%

18

Seattle

WA

6.500%

3.000%

0.000%

9.500%

9

Spokane

WA

6.500%

1.600%

0.600%

8.700%

34

St. Louis

MO

4.225%

0.000%

5.266%

9.491%

11

St. Paul

MN

6.875%

0.000%

0.750%

7.625%

70

St. Petersburg

FL

6.000%

1.000%

0.000%

7.000%

79

Stockton

CA

7.250%

1.500%

0.250%

9.000%

19

Tampa

FL

6.000%

1.000%

0.000%

7.000%

79

Toledo

OH

5.500%

1.250%

0.000%

6.750%

86

Tucson

AZ

6.600%

0.600%

2.000%

9.200%

16

Tulsa

OK

4.500%

1.017%

3.000%

8.517%

35

Virginia Beach

VA

4.000%

0.000%

1.000%

5.000%

100

Washington

DC

6.000%

0.000%

0.000%

6.000%

92

Wichita

KS

6.300%

1.000%

0.000%

7.300%

72

Winston-Salem

NC

5.750%

2.000%

0.000%

7.750%

62

Yonkers

NY

4.000%

1.375%

3.000%

8.375%

36

Source: Sales Tax Clearinghouse, Census Bureau, and Tax Foundation


About the Author


Related Research