Taxes on Retirees: A State by State Guide

See how each state treats retirees when it comes to income, sales, property, and other taxes.

outline of U.S. map made of different denominations of dollar bills
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are several factors to consider when deciding where to relocate once you retire, and state tax on retirees is probably one of them. After all, taxes don’t stop once you leave the workforce, and high-tax states can drain retirement savings faster than states with lower taxes.  Additionally, overall tax burdens can vary significantly from one state to another. That’s why Kiplinger created this state-by-state guide to taxes in retirement. 

The interactive map below highlights the most and least tax-friendly states for retirees. You can also use the map to navigate to our state tax guides which include detailed information about income, sales, property, gasoline, estate, and other taxes that impact retirees in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. This information may help you compare taxes for retirees by state.

Kiplinger's tax map for retirees

Our ranking for the most tax-friendly states for retirees is based on two major factors. Only states that don't tax retirement benefits were considered. Of those 13 states, the 10 with the lowest median property taxes paid were chosen. 

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For our ranking for the worst states to retire in (which place the highest tax burden on retirees), we considered states that still tax Social Security retirement benefits for single filers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) below $75,000. Then, we factored in states with the highest median property tax bills. 

Retiree taxes: What else you need to know

How the IRS Taxes Retirement Income: Provides a breakdown of common sources of income and information on the federal tax treatment of each. This information can help you develop a tax-efficient strategy for your retirement years. 

Taxes in Retirement: How All 50 States Tax Retirees: Provides an overview of how income from employment, investments, a pension, retirement distributions, and Social Security are taxed in every state. 

10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Retirees: Knowing which are the most tax-friendly states for retirees may help you make your decision. Just keep in mind that no state has zero taxes. So, where some types of taxes are low, other types may be high. Considering the pros and cons of state taxes will provide you with the best overall tax picture.

Worst States to Retire in Due to Taxes: If a primary concern as you consider your retirement destination is saving money on taxes, the places on this list are the worst states to retire in. That's because high property taxes and taxes on traditional types of retirement income, like Social Security, pensions, and distributions from a 401(k) or IRA, make these states more expensive than most for many retirees.

15 States That Won't Tax Your Pension:  Most states tax at least a portion of the income from many retirement benefit plans. Your state might have a pension exclusion, but chances are it's limited based on your age and/or income. However, some states don't tax pension income no matter your age or how much money you have.

Most Expensive States for Retired Military Service Members: You can’t avoid paying federal tax on your military retirement pay since the IRS taxes that income as a pension. But you might be able to escape a state tax bill — as long as you don’t retire in one of the places on this list. 

See the full tax picture by state

Article sources

Tax map sources: Data for state tax guides is gathered from several sources including the U.S Census Bureau, state government websites, the Sales Tax Handbook, and the Tax Foundation. Property taxes are cited as a rate percentage rather than the assessed value.

Our Tax Map for Retirees Methodology

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Katelyn Washington
Tax Writer

Katelyn has more than 6 years’ experience working in tax and finance. While she specializes in tax content, Katelyn has also written for digital publications on topics including insurance, retirement and financial planning and has had financial advice commissioned by national print publications. She believes that knowledge is the key to success and enjoys helping others reach their goals by providing content that educates and informs.