If you enjoy checking out books from the library, have a child that goes to public school, or feel confident relying on your local fire department or sewer system (among many other services), you are using services that are often partially funded by property taxes.
Property taxes are levied on real property, such as homes, commercial buildings, and land, as well as personal property, which can include cars, bank accounts, and stocks and bonds. All states and Washington, DC, collect property taxes.
The amount of property tax a person owes, or the property tax rate, depends on the property’s value. And in the US, property tax rates also vary by state, county, and municipality.
Using data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, USAFacts examined Americans’ property tax burdens — the proportion of their personal income paid in state and local property taxes. (See the full report on US tax burdens here.)
Property tax burdens can be measured by looking at the percentage of personal income paid in property taxes each year. Using this metric, Maine has the highest property tax burden.
In 2020, Maine collected property tax revenue that amounted to 5.2% of personal income. That’s followed by Vermont, New Jersey, and New Hampshire, which collected 4.8% of personal income in property taxes that same year.
Another way to measure the burden of property tax is a state’s property tax revenue per person. By this measure, New Jersey — not Maine — has the highest property tax burden, collecting $3,600 per person in property taxes in 2020. New Hampshire and Connecticut are next with $3,300 per person.
Alabama has the lowest property tax burden. In 2020, the state collected 1.4% of personal income in property tax revenue. It also collected the lowest amount per person, at $650.
After Alabama is neighboring Tennessee, which had a 2020 property tax revenue of 1.6% of personal income, or $850 per taxpayer. Arkansas, which collected 1.7% of personal income (and $800 per person), is third.
Note that property taxes are a relatively small source of tax revenue for states. For example, property taxes made up 1.7% of state government tax revenue in 2019. However, local governments rely heavily on property taxes for funding. In 2019, 31% of local government tax revenue came from property taxes.
Learn more from USAFacts about tax burdens in the US, and get the data directly in your inbox by signing up for our email newsletter.
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