State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees
Tool | December 2021

Tennessee State Tax Guide for Retirees

State tax rates and rules for income, sales, property, estate, and other taxes that impact retirees.


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The Bottom Line
Flag of Tennessee

Most Tax-Friendly

Retirees in the Volunteer State will be singing "Rocky Top" all the way to the bank, thanks to a low overall tax burden in the state. Tennessee has no income tax, which is the driving force behind the state's favorable tax ranking for retirees.

Property taxes are well below average, too. The state also offers some property tax relief programs for income-qualified senior citizens.

However, be prepared to fork over some substantial sales taxes in Tennessee. It has the second-highest combined state and local sales-tax rate in the nation, at an average of 9.547%.

Income Tax Range

Tennessee has no state income tax.

Taxation of Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits are not taxed by the state.

Tax Breaks for Other Retirement Income

Tennessee has no income tax.

Sales Tax

7% state levy. There's also an additional state tax of 2.75% on sales of single items that applies to the portion of the sales price from $1,600 to $3,200. Localities can add up to 2.75%, with an average combined state and local rate of 9.547%, according to the Tax Foundation. Local taxes are limited, though: Only the first $1,600 of any single item is taxable.

Groceries: Taxable (4% state rate; additional local taxes may apply)
Clothing: Taxable
Motor Vehicles: Taxable (7% basic rate, plus 2.75% state tax on sales price between $1,600 and $3,200; additional local taxes may also apply)
Prescription Drugs: Exempt

NOTE: The sales tax on groceries is suspended during August 2022.

Real Property Taxes

In Tennessee, the median property tax rate is $685 per $100,000 of assessed home value.

Tennessee has a property tax relief program that reimburses income-eligible seniors age 65 or older (and others) for taxes paid on their primary residence. For the 2021 program, property tax relief applies to the first $29,100 of market value, and the combined income for eligible owners is limited to $31,190.

There's also a property tax freeze program available for homeowners 65 and older. A senior's income cannot exceed income limits set by his or her county to qualify.

Annual Car Taxes and Fees

An annual vehicle registration fee is imposed. Additional local fees may apply.

Estate and Inheritance Taxes

No estate or inheritance tax.