Six states in the American South pay the lowest federal taxes, and the one that pays the least has to cough up just $3,024 per adult, according to a study of the 50 states and the District of Columbia released Thursday by MoneyRates.com.
This compares with the $6,151 per year the average American adult pays in federal taxes and $10,861 in the state with the highest average federal tax bill.
Using data from the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Census Bureau, MoneyRates.com calculated the total amount of federal taxes paid by each state overall and also on a per capita basis to adjust for state-by-state differences in population and wealth. The key figure used in its rankings is federal taxes paid per adult.
Several factors account for the different amounts paid by the states, according to MoneyRates.
One is the number of people in each state who actually file returns. For example, while some 65% of adult Alaskans file federal tax returns, less than 54% of adults in West Virginia do so. This may be due to poverty, retirement or simply failure to meet the filing obligation, the study said.
Population also affects the total amount of taxes, but this is neutralized by looking at taxes per capita. For example, California has the highest adult population of any state and also pays the most total federal taxes. But it ranks only in the middle of the top 10 list of taxes paid per adult resident, in part because per capita income is lower than in some of the higher-ranked states.
In addition, wealthier states tend to pay more taxes per capita, both because federal tax rates are higher for high earners and because those higher rates are being applied to larger dollar amounts.
Check out the gallery for the 10 states that pay the least in federal taxes per adult, and then check out the 10 states whose residents pay the most.
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