14 States That Won't Tax Your Pension

Some states have pension exclusions with limitations based on age and/or income. But these states don't tax pension income at all, no matter how old you are or how much money you have.

picture of man putting coins in a pension piggy bank
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Congratulations if you're one of the lucky few who still have a traditional pension (a.k.a., a defined benefit plan). But once you've retired, remember that Uncle Sam generally taxes payments from pensions as ordinary income.

Will your state tax your pension income, too? It depends on where you live. Most states tax at least a portion of income from private sector defined benefit plans. Your state might have a pension exclusion, but chances are it's limited based on your age and/or income. However, a handful of states don't tax pension income at all, no matter how old you are or how much money you have. Good for you if you retire in one of those states!

But, of course, just because a state doesn't tax your pension doesn't mean it won't tax some other form of income you're counting on in retirement. Alabama, for example, doesn't tax pensions or Social Security benefits, but it will tax distributions from a 401(k) plan. Bottom line: Make sure you check out a state's overall tax environment for retirees (opens in new tab) before relocating there for your golden years.

Take a look at the 14 states that don't tax pension income (states are listed alphabetically). It could end up saving you thousands of dollars if you're thinking of moving to a new state when you retire.

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.