If You Live in 1 of These 15 States, a Trip to the Store Is Costing You More in Sales Tax

No matter how much you despise it, paying taxes is unavoidable. You might think you have a great argument for not having to pay income tax, but it’s likely been tried — and shot down.

You might live in one of the lucky states without income tax, but rest assured the government will get its money one way or another. Even if your property tax bill is modest, you might be shelling out in other ways. If you live in Alabama, you have the lowest average property bills in the country, but as we’ll find out you’re still getting taxed.

State sales tax is another way for the government to get your money. So even if you don’t have to pay state income tax, or have lower property taxes, you’re still paying. Here are 15 states where you’re paying the most sales tax, according to the Tax Foundation.

15. New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico

It has one of the higher local taxes. | RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 5.125%
  • Average local rate: 2.51%

New Mexico’s combined 7.63% rate is No. 15 on the list, and the state owes its showing on the rankings to the local tax average. The state sales tax rate is just No. 32 in the U.S., but New Mexico has one of the higher local averages in the county, as 25 states plus Washington, D.C., have local rates under 1%.

Next: Missouri makes you pay.

14. Missouri

St. Louis

Its local tax is also on the higher end. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 4.225%
  • Average local rate: 3.74%

The state rate in Missouri is just No. 39 in the country. It’s the local average tax rate that hurt Missouri and led to a 7.97% combined rate. Only five states in the country have an average higher than Missouri’s 3.74%. And as we will find out, four of them make the list.

Next: The Silver State rates.

13. Nevada

Reno, Nevada downtown

The state sales tax is especially high. | ddub3429/iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 6.85%
  • Average local rate: 1.29%

The statewide sales tax rate in Nevada is No. 7 in the country, according to data from the Tax Foundation. Meanwhile, the local average is more middle of the road for an 8.14% combined rate. If you’re vacationing in Sin City, then you’re helping Nevada’s bottom line in a big way. Clark County, home to Las Vegas, now charges an 8.15% sales tax, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

Next: Texas likes its taxes.

12. Texas

view of Texas Capital Building

Despite no state income tax, property tax is pretty high. | iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 6.25%
  • Average local rate: 1.92%

Congratulations, Texas residents. Your state is one of the few where there is no state income tax. That’s good news. The bad news is you’re getting taxed everywhere else. In addition to having one of the higher property tax rates in the nation, Texas also has one of the higher sales tax rates. The state rate is No. 13 in the country, and the average local rate is in the top half nationally. The 8.17% combined rate puts Texas at No. 12.

Next: Desert paradise?

11. Arizona

Arizona sunset

It’s one of 15 states with an average local rate higher than 2%. | iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 5.6%
  • Average local rate: 2.72%

The state rate in Arizona is only No. 28 in the country. When the local rates are factored in, Arizona makes a big jump up. It is one of 15 states where the local average rate is 2% or higher, and one municipality could be to blame. According to data from TurboTax, Glendale has one of the highest sales tax rates in the U.S. at 9.5 percent. The 8.32% combined rate puts Arizona on the cusp of the top 10.

Next: West Coast living

10. California

California sunset Palm tree rows in Santa Barbara US

It’s no big surprise that California made the cut with over a 7% state sales tax. | lunamarinaiStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 7.25%
  • Average local rate: 1.23%

A quick glance at the numbers shows how California makes the top 10. The state rate of 7.25% ranks No. 8 in the country. Tax Foundation data from 2016 show that Oakland, Fremont, San Francisco, and San Jose are all in the top 20 when it comes to local sales tax rates. Los Angeles and Long Beach also rank high, but it’s California’s state rate that does the most damage.

Next: The Empire State takes a cut.

9. New York

Times Square in New York City

New York City pushes New York into the top 10 for taxes. | AndreyKrav/iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 4%
  • Average local rate: 4.49%

New York’s 4% state rate is just 40th in the nation. Thanks in large part to New York City, however, the state has an 8.49% combined state and local average. The Tax Foundation placed New York City and nearby Yonkers in the top 20 nationwide for local sales tax. Buffalo was next on that list, helping put New York in the top 10.

Next: Crack open your wallet in Kansas.

8. Kansas

A warm, beautiful sunset along the Arkansas River in Wichita, Kansas

Its high state and local rates put Kansas at No. 9. | ricardoreitmeyer/iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 6.5%
  • Average local rate: 2.18%

It wasn’t long ago that Kansas tried a bold tax experiment and failed. Now Kansans pay one of the highest state rates in the country at 6.5%, No. 9 in the country. Couple that with an average rate that is among the 15 highest nationwide, and you can see how Kansas’ 8.68% combined rate is one of the highest in the U.S.

Next: The Upper Midwest checks in.

7. Illinois

Oak Street Beach Chicago

Chicago boasts the highest municipal tax in the country. | Steven Kevil/Wikimedia Commons

  • State sales tax rate: 6.25%
  • Average local rate: 2.44%

At 6.25%, Illinois residents pay a rate that is No. 13 in the U.S. That’s not great but certainly not the worst. Thanks to Chicago, however, the Land of Lincoln is firmly in the top 10 of the worst sales tax rates in the nation. Chicago imposes the highest municipal rate in the nation as residents pay a whopping 10.25% in sales tax. So if you want to copy Chicago’s most famous athlete and buy a pair of Air Jordan shoes for $190, be prepared to shell out close to $210.

Next: Is it OK to charge this much?

6. Oklahoma

oklahoma city

The local rate is almost as high as the state rate. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 4.5%
  • Average local rate: 4.36%

Oklahoma’s state rate puts it at No. 37 nationally, according to the Tax Foundation. That’s not so bad, but the local rates hurt the state. Oklahoma City, the most populous city in the state, is home to an estimated 638,000 people, while Tulsa is home to another 400,000. Combined, Oklahoma City and Tulsa account for more than a quarter of Oklahoma’s 4 million people. Those two cities levy an average of 4.05% sales tax, which is still less than the state average but enough to put Oklahoma on the list.

Next: Sweet home?

5. Alabama

scene of downtown Huntsville, Alabama

Property taxes are low, but Montgomery and Birmingham have a huge sales tax. | iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 4%
  • Average local rate: 5.03%

Alabama has one of the lowest state rates, ranking No. 40 overall. When it comes to property taxes, it has the lowest average among all 50 states, according to the Tax Foundation. But two of Alabama’s biggest cities have some of the highest municipal rates in the U.S. and push the combined sales tax rate to 9.03%. State capital Montgomery and Birmingham — Nos. 1 and 2 in state population, respectively — charge 6%. The 10% sales tax you pay in those two cities put them tied for No. 2 in the country.

Next: Washington takes a cut.

4. Washington

Seattle downtown and Space Needle

There’s no state income tax. | aiisha5/iStock

  • State sales tax rate: 6.5%
  • Average local rate: 2.7%

Living in Washington will provide you with a state income tax break because there is none. Yet the state sales tax rate ranks No. 9 in the U.S., and two major cities tack on even more than that. Seattle and Tacoma both add 3.1% to retail purchases for 9.6% rates that are among the highest in the nation. Washington’s 9.2% combined rate puts it at No. 4 in the U.S.

Next: Heading south

3. Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

A low property tax might help balance state and local taxes. | RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 6.5%
  • Average local rate: 2.84%

Like Washington, Arkansas has a statewide rate of 6.5%, No. 9 in the nation. Couple that with a 2.84% average local rate, and you’re looking at one of the most taxed states in the country. The sales tax in Arkansas is one of the worst, but it needs to have high rates. Its property tax is one of the lowest in the country at an average of $675. And as one of the least populous states in the nation, it has to earn its income from somewhere.

Next: Rocky Top almost tops them all.

2. Tennessee

downtown Nashville, Tennessee

An incredible tax rate gets it the No. 2 spot. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 7%
  • Average local rate: 2.45%

Residents in Tennessee are taxed on 5% of their interest and dividend income, but their pay is otherwise left untouched — until you head to the mall. The state rate of 7% is the highest in the country. Fortunately, if you live in the biggest cities you actually get a break. Nashville and Memphis add an additional 2.25% sales tax for a 9.25% rate that is in the top 10 among big cities in the U.S. Yet, that number is actually lower than the 9.45% rate that puts Tennessee No. 2 overall.

Next: Louisiana is lousy with taxes.

1. Louisiana

New Orleans, LA, USA

The Big Easy doesn’t go easy on taxes. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • State sales tax rate: 5%
  • Average local rate: 5.02%

At first glance, the 5% state rate isn’t too bad, ranking No. 33 in the country. It’s the average 5.02% local rate statewide that vaults Louisiana to the top of the list. The Tax Foundation notes that part of New Orleans rests in a parish charging 9.75%, but most of the Crescent City charges 10%. That rate in New Orleans actually is slightly lower than the combined state rate of 10.02%. The high sales tax has not dissuaded New Orleans residents from spending. City data show sales tax revenue is soaring following a dip in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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