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Tool | August 2013

State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees

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The Bottom Line
Map of Arizona


One of Kiplinger's top ten most tax-friendly states for retirees, the Grand Canyon State is a major retirement destination, with plenty of sunshine and a low personal income tax rate that tops out at 4.54%. Social Security benefits are exempt, as is up to $2,500 of some retirement income. Arizona's state sales tax is 5.6%. There is no inheritance tax, gift tax or estate tax.

State Sales Tax

Arizona's state sales tax recently dropped a percentage point to 5.6% (a temporary increase expired in June 2013). Currently, all 15 counties levy a tax. County rates range from 0.25% to 2%. Arizona does not levy a state tax on food for home consumption or on drugs prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist. However, some cities in Arizona levy a tax on food for home consumption.

Income Tax Range

Low: 2.59% (on up to $20,000 of taxable income for married joint filers and up to $10,000 for all others)

High: 4.54% (on more than $300,000 of taxable income for married joint filers and more than $150,000 for all others)

Social Security

Benefits are not taxed.

Exemptions for Other Retirement Income

Railroad Retirement benefits are exempt. Up to $2,500 total of military, civil-service, and Arizona state and local government pensions are also exempt. Out-of-state government pensions are fully taxed.

Property Taxes

There is no state property tax. Tax jurisdictions set tax rates, which vary considerably from one area to another. Median property tax on the state's median home value of $187,700 is $1,356, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tax breaks for seniors: Single homeowners 65 and older who earn $3,750 or less and married couples who earn $5,500 or less are eligible for a tax credit of up to $502.

Homeowners who are at least 70 years old, have resided in their primary residence for at least six years, have lived in the state for at least ten years and do not receive more than $10,000 of taxable income per year can defer their property taxes.

Homeowners who are at least 65 years old, have resided in their primary residence for at least two years and fall below certain income limits (for 2013, one owner of a property must have actual income below $34,080, and multiple owners of a property must have income below $42,600) can apply to the assessor by September 1 to have the valuation of their property frozen for three years. The freeze can be renewed every third year.

Inheritance and
Estate Taxes

There is no inheritance tax or estate tax.

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