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Tax Foundation: Fla. No. 4 for ‘Business Tax Climate’

Researchers found that the top lower-tax states didn’t have a “major tax,” which helped Fla. move high in rankings since it lacks a personal income tax.

WASHINGTON – The Tax Foundation issued a new report, “State Business Tax Climate Index.” The 83-page report’s goal is to do a state-by-state comparison of all taxes paid in order to compare the amount businesses may be expected to pay. Janelle Cammenga and Jared Walczak wrote the report.

Report excerpts

Executive summary

The Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index enables business leaders, government policymakers, and taxpayers to gauge how their states’ tax systems compare. While there are many ways to show how much is collected in taxes by state governments, the Index is designed to show how well states structure their tax systems and provides a road map for improvement.

The absence of a major tax is a common factor among many of the top 10 states. Property taxes and unemployment insurance taxes are levied in every state, but there are several states that do without one or more of the major taxes: the corporate income tax, the individual income tax, or the sales tax. Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming have no corporate or individual income tax (though Nevada imposes gross receipts taxes); Alaska has no individual income or state-level sales tax; Florida and Tennessee have no individual income tax; and New Hampshire and Montana have no sales tax.

The 10 best states in this year’s Index are:

1. Wyoming

2. South Dakota

3. Alaska

4. Florida

5. Montana

6. New Hampshire

7. Nevada

8. Tennessee

9. Indiana

10. Utah

The 10 lowest-ranked, or worst, states in this year’s Index are:

41. Hawaii

42. Louisiana

43. Vermont

44. Arkansas

45. Minnesota

46. Maryland

47. Connecticut

48. California

49. New York

50. New Jersey

This does not mean, however, that a state cannot rank in the top 10 while still levying all the major taxes. Indiana and Utah, for example, levy all of the major tax types but do so with low rates on broad bases.

The states in the bottom 10 tend to have a number of afflictions in common: complex, nonneutral taxes with comparatively high rates.

New Jersey, for example, is hampered by some of the highest property tax burdens in the country, the highest corporate income taxes, among the highest individual income taxes in the country, has a particularly aggressive treatment of international income, levies an inheritance tax, and maintains some of the nation’s worst-structured individual income taxes.

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