10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Retirees

Retirees in these states are likely to have a higher overall state and local tax burden than retirees in other states.

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Most people have a dream home in mind for retirement. It might be a quaint beach house, a log cabin deep in the woods, or a penthouse high in the sky. But no matter where you plan to live during your golden years, make sure you check out the local tax situation in your dream destination before packing your bags and relocating. If you don't, you might be unpleasantly surprised by a hefty state and local tax bill in your new hometown.

State and local taxes can vary greatly from one place to another. The difference can easily exceed $10,000 or more per year for some people, which is enough to break the bank for a lot of retirees. To avoid this kind of bombshell, do your homework before settling on a new location. You can start with Kiplinger's State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees (opens in new tab). This tool maps out the tax landscape for each state and the District of Columbia, and allows you to do a side-by-side comparison for up to five states at a time.

We also identified the 10 states that impose the highest taxes on retirees, which are listed below (we saved the worst state for last). Our results are based on the estimated state and local tax burden in each state for two hypothetical retired couples with a mixture of income from wages, Social Security, 401(k) plans, traditional and Roth IRAs, private pensions, interest, dividends, and capital gains. One couple had $50,000 in total income and a $250,000 home, while the other had $100,000 of income and a $350,000 home. Take a look to see if your state — or the state you've been dreaming about for retirement — made our "least tax-friendly" list for retirees (we hope it didn't).

See the final slide for a complete description of our ranking methodology and sources of information.

Rocky Mengle
Senior Tax Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rocky is a Senior Tax Editor for Kiplinger with more than 20 years of experience covering federal and state tax developments. Before coming to Kiplinger, he worked for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting and Kleinrock Publishing, where he provided breaking news and guidance for CPAs, tax attorneys, and other tax professionals. He has also been quoted as an expert by USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, Reuters, Accounting Today, and other media outlets. Rocky has a law degree from the University of Connecticut and a B.A. in History from Salisbury University.