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States With No Sales Tax (And Those that Have the Lowest)

Find where to save on sales tax, what’s taxed and what isn’t

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​​If you’ve considered moving to another state, you’ve probably factored state income taxes into your decision. But state and local sales taxes will cut into your budget as well.

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Which states have no or low sales tax?

Five states don’t collect state-level sales tax: New Hampshire, Oregon, Montana, Alaska and Delaware. Referred to as “NOMAD” states, they also don’t collect local sales tax, except for Alaska.

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States with the lowest sales tax rates:


  • Has no statewide sales tax, but it allows cities and towns to levy sales taxes.
  • Its average local tax rate of 1.82 percent is still well below the national average of 7.48 percent, according to the Tax Foundation’s calculation of population-weighted averages of local and statewide sales tax.
  • Receives significant income from natural resource taxes.


  • Has the second-lowest combined state and local sales tax rate at 4.5 percent.
  • Tax rates for individuals range from 1.4 to 11 percent, based on income.
  • Corporations pay a range of 4.4 to 6.4 percent on their income.


  • Has the third lowest state and local sales tax, at 5.44 percent.
  • Does not have individual or corporate income tax.
  • Receives a significant amount of tax revenue from natural resources.


  • Has a low state sales tax of 5.5 percent.
  • Does not levy any local sales taxes.
  • The tax rate for individuals ranges from 5.8 to 7.15 percent and for corporations from 3.5 to 8.93 percent.


  • Has a combined state and local sales tax of 5.7 percent.
  • Individual income tax ranges from 3.54 percent to 7.65 with a flat corporate income tax rate of 7.9 percent.

Which states have the highest sales tax?

On the other end of the spectrum, these states are among those with the highest sales tax rate:


  • Reports the highest sales tax with a combined state and local sales tax at 9.56 percent.
  • Has a relatively low individual income tax ranging from 1.85 to 4.25 percent.
  • Has a corporate tax ranging from 3.5 to 7.5 percent.


  • Has the second highest total sales tax at 9.55 percent.
  • Does not have an individual income tax.
  • Has a flat 6.5 percent corporate tax rate and imposes a gross receipts tax, meaning businesses are taxed on their total revenue without making any deductions for expenses.

Following Tennessee is Arkansas with the third-highest combined state and local sales tax (9.45 percent), Washington (9.38 percent) and Alabama (9.29 percent).

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How high are sales taxes in your state?

Overall, the average combined state and local sales tax is 7.48 percent. City, county and municipal rates vary. These rates are weighted by population to compute an average local tax rate. The sales taxes in Hawaii, New Mexico and South Dakota have broad bases that include many business-to-business services.


What’s taxed and what isn’t

Although it may feel like you’re taxed on everything you buy, most states exclude specific purchases (such as groceries) from sales taxes. “That’s a huge one, because most people spend a lot of their income on groceries,” says Janelle Fritts, policy analyst at the Tax Foundation.

While each state has its own rules on what gets taxed, usually tangible goods are taxed while services aren’t. If a business sells something that’s supposed to be taxed, they’re the ones who usually collect tax from their customers and then send it to the government.

Even then, the rules can be quirky. Some states that exempt food from the sales tax will impose it on soda and candy. Louisiana taxes bottled water but not soda or candy. Groceries bought under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often referred to as food stamps, aren’t subject to state sales tax. All states except Illinois exempt prescription drugs from sales tax, and Illinois taxes them at just 1 percent, compared with 6.25 percent for its statewide sales tax. Several states — Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont and Virginia — and the District of Columbia don’t charge sales taxes on nonprescription drugs.

If a business sells products out of state, they only have to worry about collecting sales tax if they sell over a certain threshold, usually around $100,000 in sales or a certain number of transactions.

How is sales tax determined when shopping online?

When you buy a product online, you’re supposed to pay a sales tax on it, just like when you buy things in a store, says Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects at the Tax Foundation. In the past, many online sellers didn’t have to collect that tax. Instead, consumers were supposed to pay it, but hardly anyone did.

Following the South Dakota v. Wayfair Supreme Court decision in 2018, businesses that sell a certain amount of products within a state, even if they don’t have a physical presence, were required to collect and send in the tax for those sales. It doesn’t matter if the business is in a state that doesn’t require a sales tax – they still have to handle it for other states where they meet a sufficient “nexus” of sales.

Consumers who live in a state without a sales tax typically won’t have to pay sales tax on most things they buy, whether it’s from a store or online.

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