Special Report

Counties Where Families Need to Budget the Most for Taxes in Every State

Tax time is upon us, eliciting exasperation and anxiety among taxpayers. As much as people detest paying taxes, they are needed so that governments can fund necessary services. Among the many services and public projects, taxes are used to build roads, pay for schools and educators’ salaries, and defend our nation. (These are the most common tax mistakes people make.)

Whether it is property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, or other levies, just about everyone pays at least one form of taxes. Local tax decisions are determined by the needs, policies, and priorities of each locality. Because of this, the tax burden can vary from state to state and county to county.

To determine the county with the highest tax bill in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on annual expenses from the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator. Counties were ranked based on the estimated annual tax costs for a two-parent, two-child family in 2020. EPI’s tax estimates are based on the National Bureau of Economic Research’s TAXSIM microsimulation model.

We added data on total annual expenses for a family of four, also from the EPI, which include the estimated cost of housing, food, transportation, health care, child care, and other expenses necessary to attain a modest yet adequate standard of living. Median household income figures are five-year estimates from the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

In four of the counties on the list, annual tax expenses for a family of four exceed $20,000. San Mateo County in the San Francisco Bay area of California levies the highest tax amount of any county in the country — a whopping $33,864 in annual tax expenses for a family of four. Residents are able to absorb the high tax amount because the county’s median household income is $128,091, the highest of any county on the list.

While in San Mateo County residents pay 26% of their income in taxes, in New York County, home to New York City, the tax burden is even higher. In New York County, annual tax expenses total $28,584, or 32% of median household income. (These are states with the highest and lowest property taxes.)

The tax load is significantly lighter in other counties. In Delaware County, Ohio; Williamson County, Tennessee; and Rockwall County, Texas, about 8% of residents’ income goes to taxes.

Click here to see the counties where families need to budget the most for taxes in every state

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