15 Cities Where People Pay the Most in Taxes

Stressed couple planning taxes and finances
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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on ChamberOfCommerce.org.

Where a person or business chooses to put down roots can have a significant impact on their costs, and in recent years, more people are moving to locations that will keep costs low.

Expensive states that have been major economic powers and population centers in the past, like California and New York, are seeing their population growth level out and more industries leave their state for inexpensive locations.

With the increased flexibility of remote work since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many households have also made the decision to move to lower-cost areas.

Key to many of these decisions is the effect of state and local tax rates. While federal income taxes are often the first to come to peoples’ minds when thinking about taxation, states and localities vary widely in how they levy taxes on businesses and individuals.

The data used in this study is from the government of the District of Columbia’s “Tax Rates and Tax Burdens in the District of Columbia – A Nationwide Comparison.” To determine the U.S. cities where residents pay the most in taxes, researchers at ChamberOfCommerce.org reported the total estimated tax percentage (as a share of family income) for a family of three earning $75,000 per year in each location. More on our methodology is included at the end.

Here are the cities where people pay the most in taxes.

15. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta skyline
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Total estimated tax percentage: 10.5%
Total estimated tax: $7,871
Income taxes: $3,137
Property taxes: $2,524
Sales taxes: $1,840
Auto taxes: $370

14. Columbus, OH

Columbus Ohio
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Total estimated tax percentage: 10.7%
Total estimated tax: $8,050
Income taxes: $3,644
Property taxes: $2,664
Sales taxes: $1,383
Auto taxes: $360

13. Portland, ME

Maine
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Total estimated tax percentage: 10.8%
Total estimated tax: $8,125
Income taxes: $2,148
Property taxes: $3,939
Sales taxes: $1,275
Auto taxes: $762

12. Los Angeles, CA

Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

Total estimated tax percentage: 10.9%
Total estimated tax: $8,157
Income taxes: $451
Property taxes: $4,797
Sales taxes: $1,886
Auto taxes: $1,023

11. New York, NY

THONGCHAI.S / Shutterstock.com

Total estimated tax percentage: 11.4%
Total estimated tax: $8,586
Income taxes: $4,489
Property taxes: $1,816
Sales taxes: $1,739
Auto taxes: $541

10. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, Missouri
Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock.com

Total estimated tax percentage: 11.6%
Total estimated tax: $8,725
Income taxes: $3,272
Property taxes: $2,348
Sales taxes: $2,055
Auto taxes: $1,050

9. Des Moines, IA

Des Moines, Iowa
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Total estimated tax percentage: 11.9%
Total estimated tax: $8,907
Income taxes: $3,151
Property taxes: $3,834
Sales taxes: $1,317
Auto taxes: $605

8. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, downtown evening rush hour.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Total estimated tax percentage: 12.0%
Total estimated tax: $9,027
Income taxes: $5,206
Property taxes: $1,919
Sales taxes: $1,326
Auto taxes: $575

7. Louisville, KY

Louisville Kentucky
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Total estimated tax percentage: 12.0%
Total estimated tax: $9,028
Income taxes: $4,948
Property taxes: $2,284
Sales taxes: $1,158
Auto taxes: $639

6. Chicago, IL

Chicago, Illinois
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Total estimated tax percentage: 12.2%
Total estimated tax: $9,118
Income taxes: $3,228
Property taxes: $2,930
Sales taxes: $1,922
Auto taxes: $1,037

5. Milwaukee, WI

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Total estimated tax percentage: 12.3%
Total estimated tax: $9,221
Income taxes: $3,095
Property taxes: $4,490
Sales taxes: $1,146
Auto taxes: $490

4. Baltimore, MD

Port of Baltimore, Maryland tugboat
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Total estimated tax percentage: 14.1%
Total estimated tax: $10,605
Income taxes: $4,786
Property taxes: $4,152
Sales taxes: $1,192
Auto taxes: $475

3. Newark, NJ

Newark, New Jersey
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Total estimated tax percentage: 15.3%
Total estimated tax: $11,510
Income taxes: $1,772
Property taxes: $8,136
Sales taxes: $1,119
Auto taxes: $483

2. Bridgeport, CT

Bridgeport, Connecticut
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Total estimated tax percentage: 15.6%
Total estimated tax: $11,735
Income taxes: $2,844
Property taxes: $6,938
Sales taxes: $1,271
Auto taxes: $682

1. Detroit, MI

Detroit, Michigan
Harold Stiver / Shutterstock.com

Total estimated tax percentage: 16.0%
Total estimated tax: $12,030
Income taxes: $4,384
Property taxes: $5,976
Sales taxes: $1,134
Auto taxes: $536

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

The data used in this study is from the government of the District of Columbia’s “Tax Rates and Tax Burdens in the District of Columbia – A Nationwide Comparison.”

To determine the U.S. cities where residents pay the most in taxes, researchers at ChamberOfCommerce.org reported the total estimated tax percentage (as a share of family income) for a family of three earning $75,000 per year in each location.

The total estimated tax percentage was calculated by summing the estimated state and local income, property, sales, and auto taxes residents are subject to in each location, accounting for differences in the various ways those taxes are levied. Only the largest city in each state and Washington, D.C., were included.

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