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12 States That Won't Tax Your Retirement Distributions

Retiring in one of these places may help you stretch your nest egg

chalkboard sign on a table says keep more of your money

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En español | One of the biggest items on your retirement budget is taxes. If you're thinking of moving somewhere else, consider one of the 12 states that don't tax distributions from pensions or defined contribution plans such as 401(k) plans.

A lack of tax

Nine of those states that don't tax retirement plan income simply have no state income taxes at all: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. The remaining three — Illinois, Mississippi and Pennsylvania — don't tax distributions from 401(k) plans, IRAs or pensions. Alabama and Hawaii don't tax pensions, but do tax distributions from 401(k) plans and IRAs.

State Taxes and Retirement Distributions

map of the states that do not tax retirement income distributions

AARP

Taxing retirement plan distributions isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. For example, 20 states don't tax military retirement income, according to Wolters Kluwer, a provider of tax information and services. Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin don't tax military retirement income. California, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C. fully tax military retirement pay. All other states have partial allowances for military pay. And Virginia only allows Congressional Medal of Honor recipients to exclude their military retirement income.

Note: You may not have paid tax on your retirement income, but that doesn’t mean that your state doesn’t tax retirement income under certain conditions: 27 states tax some, but not all, retirement or pension income. Typically, these states limit the amount of tax by income levels.  

27 states limit the amount of tax by income levels
Alabama Kansas New Jersey
Arizona Kentucky New Mexico
Arkansas Louisiana New York
Colorado Maine Oklahoma
Connecticut Maryland Rhode Island
Delaware Massachusetts South Carolina
Georgia Michigan Virginia
Indiana Missouri West Virginia
Iowa Montana Wisconsin


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Taxes aren't everything

Some states with low or no income taxes have higher property or sales taxes. For example, while Illinois does not tax retirement income, it has one of the highest sales and property taxes in the U.S. Other low-tax states may have fewer programs that you might find helpful, such as senior centers and public transportation.

Ultimately, where you live in retirement depends on what you can afford — and what makes you happy. If you have a beloved child or grandchild in a high-tax state, you may figure the extra taxes are worth being nearby.

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