The average American adult pays $6,151 per year in federal taxes, but filers in the state that pays the most cough up $10,861 per adult, while those in the state that pays the least per adult put up only $3,024, according to a study released Thursday by MoneyRates.com.
Six of the top-paying states are located on the country’s coasts.
Richard Barrington, a senior financial analyst at MoneyRates.com, writes in a blog that state population and wealth, as well as the number of returns filed, help explain the difference.
“There are some surprisingly large discrepancies between the number of adults in some states and those filing federal tax returns,” Barrington says.
“For example, while over 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.”
Two other factors also influence account for the differences among states in the amount of federal taxes paid, according to the study.
Population 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 higher earners and because those higher rates are being applied to larger dollar amounts.
Using data from the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Census Bureau for the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 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.
Check out the gallery for the 10 states that pay the most in federal taxes per adult.
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