Which US State Pays the Most Income Tax?

It’s Tax Week in the United States. April 15th is tax day, when every American making an income needs to file their paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service. Just how much the federal government collects varies by state, as you’ll see in the map embedded below. The results for each state are primarily determined by two factors: the incomes of its people and its population relative to other states.

View Tax Revenue Per State in a full screen map

Population obviously plays a major factor in how much tax revenue a state generates. The five most populous states (California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois) are also the top five according to gross tax revenues. The reverse is also true. The five smallest states by population (Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) are also the bottom five by tax revenue.

Things get interesting when you remove the population factor and compare tax revenues per capita. California, for example, clocks in near the US average, despite being tops overall. Some populous states still end up high in the list. New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois all fall in the top 10 of gross tax revenues, as well as revenue per capita. On the other hand, less populous states like Delaware, Nebraska, and Rhode Island are high on revenues per capita while predictably falling in the bottom half of gross revenue.

The non-states bookend the rankings of tax revenue per capita. Washington, D.C., sends more than $30,000 per individual to the federal government. Puerto Rico is below $1,000 for each of its taxpayers.

Finally, another useful way to look at tax revenues is by the percentage of the Gross State Product (GSP). The GSP is like the Gross Domestic Product for countries, the GSP is an estimation of all the goods and services within a state. Topping the list is Delaware, where nearly one-third of the GSP is paid as federal taxes. Minnesota, Arkansas, New Jersey, and Ohio round out the top five.

Of course, by this time of year, most taxes have already been paid. Over 70% of Americans overpay their taxes. That means the majority of Americans will receive a tax refund.