The Worst State to Live In for Taxes? California

High taxes take a toll on residents of the Golden State.

California is a killer when it comes to taxes. After analyzing the tax policies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, we ranked the Golden State the absolute worst in terms of the overall tax bite that it takes out of its residents.

Where to begin? How about with the state income tax. California’s rates are the highest in the nation. Making matters worse, capital gains are taxed as regular income.

California also has the highest statewide sales tax, at 7.5%. Throw in local sales taxes, and the combined rate can run as high as 10%. Gas taxes and fees are high, too.

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On a somewhat positive note, Californians pay lower property taxes than residents of other high-tax states. But in a state with some of the highest real estate prices in the U.S., they’re no bargain.

There are nine other states that are particularly tax-unfriendly to residents. Take a look.

David Muhlbaum
Former Senior Online Editor

In his former role as Senior Online Editor, David edited and wrote a wide range of content for With more than 20 years of experience with Kiplinger, David worked on numerous Kiplinger publications, including The Kiplinger Letter and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. He co-hosted  Your Money's Worth, Kiplinger's podcast and helped develop the Economic Forecasts feature.