Personal Finance

Idaho makes it easier for low-income earners on Tax Day, survey says. Here’s how

Being poor is never easy, but Idaho is one of the easiest states to be poor when it comes to tax time, according to a new online survey.

Financial services website WalletHub conducted a survey of all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., to determine which states were the best, and which were the worst, to be poor when Tax Day comes around.

To that end, WalletHub generated state-specific tax burden estimates for residents at three income levels: $25,000 a year, $50,000 a year, and $150,000 a year, using data from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s 2018 report.

Idaho ranked No. 9 in the nation for low-income earners, with taxes taking up a little more than 8.8 percent of their income. Medium- and high-income earners also fare reasonably well in the Gem State.

At 8.28 percent of their income, Idaho is No. 11 in the nation for medium-income people. Idaho is No. 16 for high-income people, who pay approximately 7.64 percent of their income in taxes.

So where’s all that tax income coming from?

Sales tax made up the single highest portion of tax burden for both low- and medium-income earners at 5.29 percent for low-income people and 4.23 percent for medium-income people.


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For high-income earners, property tax was the highest category, at 4.01 percent.

The poorest pay a proportionately greater amount of their income, 8.81 percent, than do the richest, at 7.64 percent.

According to the latest U.S. Census data, the median household income for Idaho is $50,985.

So what’s the best state to be poor?

For tax purposes, it’s Delaware. Taxes take up just 5.24 percent of the earnings for someone making $25,000 a year. At nearly 14.6 percent, Washington state is the worst place to be poor come tax time.

Alaska took No. 1 for both middle- and high-income earners, in large part because there is no income tax in the state. On the opposite end of the spectrum, New York took No. 51 for both middle- and high-income categories.

The full report can be viewed here.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.