State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees
Tool | December 2020

District Of Columbia State Tax Guide for Retirees

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

District Of Columbia

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The Bottom Line
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Most Tax-Friendly

From a tax standpoint, Washington, D.C., is a good place to retire (if you can stand all the political talk, that is). This is especially true for middle- and lower-income retirees. Although the District exempts Social Security income, most other forms of retirement income are taxed by the city. But many senior homeowners can get a substantial income tax credit based on the property taxes they pay.

And speaking of property taxes, the median property tax rate in D.C. are the eighth-lowest in the country. The city also offers property tax breaks designed just for seniors. Sales taxes in the Nation's Capital are modest, too.

The District of Columbia does impose an estate tax, though.

Income Tax Range

Low: 4% (on taxable income up to $10,000)

High: 8.95% (on taxable income over $1 million)

Beginning in 2022, the highest rate will be 10.75% on taxable income over $1 million.

Taxation of Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits are not taxed by the state.

Tax Breaks for Other Retirement Income

Tier 1 Railroad Retirement benefits are exempt.

Sales Tax

6% city sales tax.

Groceries: Exempt
Clothing: Taxable
Motor Vehicles: Exempt from ordinary sales tax, but taxable under special 6% to 8% excise tax
Prescription Drugs: Exempt

Real Property Taxes

Homeowners 65 and older with household adjusted gross income of less than $135,750 for the 2021 tax year can qualify to reduce their property tax by 50%.

Homeowners 65 and older whose adjusted gross income is less than $50,000 may qualify for property tax deferral.

Seniors age 70 and older also have a higher income threshold for claiming the homeowner and renter property tax credit on their D.C. income tax return (the 2021 credit is worth up to $1,225). For the 2021 tax year, residents 70 and older are eligible for the credit if their federal adjusted gross income is $76,700 or less. For younger residents, the threshold is $56,200 or less.

Annual Car Taxes and Fees

No annual vehicle tax or fee is imposed.

Estate and Inheritance Taxes

For 2021, Washington, D.C., estates valued over $4 million are subject to a city estate tax ($4,254,800 for 2022). Rates in 2021 range from 11.2% to 16%.