Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×

Search

Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

States With Highest and Lowest Sales Tax Rates

These rates are all over the map, and cities and towns can add to them too


spinner image U.S five dollar bills on top of a close up portion of a map of American states.
Getty Images

If you’re considering 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.​

Lowest and highest sales tax states

Four states — Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon — have no statewide sales tax, or local sales taxes, either.​

Alaska has no statewide sales tax, but it allows cities and towns to levy sales taxes. The Tax Foundation, an independent think tank, weights local sales taxes by population and adds them to statewide sales taxes. It calculates Alaska’s sales tax at 1.81 percent, still well below the national average of 6.59 percent. The lowest state and local sales taxes after Alaska’s are in Hawaii (4.44 percent), Wyoming (5.44 percent), Wisconsin (5.43 percent) and Maine (5.5 percent).​

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

LIMITED TIME OFFER

Flash Sale! Join AARP today for $16 per year. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.

Join Now

On the other end of the spectrum is Louisiana and Tennessee, whose combined state and local sales tax weighs in at 9.55 percent. Tennessee, whose state sales tax is 9.547 percent, trails Louisiana by a fraction. Following Tennessee are Arkansas (9.44 percent), Washington (9.24 percent) and Alabama (9.24 percent).

States have to get revenue from somewhere, and sometimes states with low income taxes have high sales taxes. “Tennessee has a very high sales tax but a very low income tax,” says Janelle Fritts, policy analyst at the Tax Foundation. “In fact, Tennessee doesn’t tax wage income at all; it just taxes dividends and capital gains.” Washington and Texas, which don’t have income taxes, also have above-average sales taxes.​

Some states with low sales taxes, such as Alaska and Montana, get significant income from natural resource taxes. ​

How high are sales taxes in your state?

Overall, the average combined state and local sales tax is 6.59 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. Washington, D.C's rank does not affect the state average. 

Shopping & Groceries

Coupons for Local Stores

Save on clothing, gifts, beauty and other everyday shopping needs

See more Shopping & Groceries offers >

What’s taxed and what isn’t

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

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?