4 States Where Income Taxes Will Be Lower Next Year

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Nobody likes to pay taxes. But residents of several states can take comfort in the knowledge that their burden may be a little lower when they pay their taxes next year.

Four states have reduced individual tax rates for 2020, the Tax Foundation reports. Another four states have increased their estate tax exemptions.

According to the nonprofit, the following states reduced some or all of their income tax rates effective Jan. 1, meaning these change will affect the state tax returns that residents file by Tax Day 2021.

1. Arkansas

Arkansas’ top tax rate on middle-income earners — meaning taxpayers with a total income between $22,000 and $79,300 — is now 5.9% (down from 6% for 2019).

The top tax rate on high-income earners — meaning taxpayers with a total income of more than $79,300 — is 6.6% (down from 6.9%). The number of tax brackets for high-income earners also has been reduced to four (down from six).

For all of Arkansas’ 2020 tax rates, see the table titled “Arkansas Individual Income Tax Rates (2020).”

2. Massachusetts

Massachusetts has a single income tax rate, meaning all taxpayers pay the same rate, regardless of how much money they earn.

That single rate is now 5% (down from 5.05% for 2019).

3. Tennessee

Tennessee is among a handful of states that do not tax wage income. It only taxes interest and dividend income — although that tax is being phased out, as we detail in “How All 50 States Tax Your Retirement Income.”

As part of that phase-out, Tennessee’s tax rate for interest and dividends is now 1% (down from 2% for 2019). The repeal goes into full effect for the 2021 tax year.

4. West Virginia

West Virginia is phasing out its income tax on Social Security benefits for taxpayers with income of:

  • $100,000 or less, if their tax-filing status is married filing jointly
  • $50,000 or less, if they have any other tax-filing status

As part of this phase-out, 35% of a qualifying taxpayer’s benefits are now exempt from income taxes. (That exemption is scheduled to rise to 65% in 2021 and 100% in 2022.)

Other state tax changes

The Tax Foundation notes that 2020 will be an active one for changes to tax codes in many states.

For example, the following states have increased their estate tax exemptions, meaning fewer estates will be subject to taxation:

  • Connecticut
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Vermont

When applicable, estates are taxed based on the total value of everything a person owns at the time of his or her death, as we detail in “17 States With Inheritance or Estate Taxes — or Both.” However, estate taxes generally only apply to large fortunes, such as those worth millions of dollars.

But the news is not all good for large estates: Hawaii has added a new tax bracket that will require estates valued at more than $10 million to be taxed at a 20% tax rate.

Federal tax changes

Looking for more good tax news about 2020? We’ve found it for you.

Limits for two federal income tax credits will rise this year, the IRS says. For more, check out “Limits for These 2 Tax Credits Rise for 2020.”

In addition, four federal tax breaks that were slated to expire instead have been extended through at least this year. You can learn about them in “4 Expiring Tax Breaks Extended Through 2020.”

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