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Tool | September 2014

State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees

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The Bottom Line
Map of Kentucky


The Bluegrass State exempts Social Security benefits from state income taxes, plus up to $41,110 per person of a wide variety of retirement income, including public and private pensions and annuities. Personal income tax rates range from 2% to 6%. A 6% sales tax is imposed at the state level. Homeowners 65 and older qualify for a homestead provision that exempts part of the value of their property from state taxes.

State Sales Tax

6% (food, prescription drugs, residential utilities except telephone, and some medical supplies are exempt)

Income Tax Range

Low: 2% (on less than $3,000 of taxable income)

High: 6% (on more than $75,000 of taxable income)

Social Security

Benefits are not taxed.

Exemptions for Other Retirement Income

Railroad Retirement benefits are exempt. Kentucky offers a retirement-income exclusion of up to $41,110, which includes distributions from IRAs and 401(k)s as well as private pensions and annuities. There is an additional exclusion for qualified military, civil-service, and state and local government pensions.

Property Taxes

Property in Kentucky is subject to state and local property tax. The state property tax rate for 2014 is 12.2 cents per $100 of assessed value. Property is assessed at 100% of fair market value. Kentucky has a homestead exemption on the assessed value of a qualifying single-unit residential property, which is adjusted every two years according to the cost-of-living index.

Median property tax on the state's median home value of $117,800 is $843, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tax breaks for seniors: For homeowners 65 and older or totally disabled, $36,000 of the assessed value of their property is exempt from state taxes under the homestead provision for 2014.

Inheritance and
Estate Taxes

Kentucky has an inheritance tax, but all Class A beneficiaries (spouse, parent, child, grandchild, brother and sister) are exempt. Other beneficiaries are subject to inheritance tax rates ranging from 4% to 16%. There is no estate tax.


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