High-tax places to live

People who live in high-tax cities often shell out more than twice as much in taxes as people who have found low-tax havens. A hypothetical family of three making $25,000 in 2007 would have paid $4,233 for taxes in Philadelphia, the most highly taxed city in the country, according to calculations by the District of Columbia’s Office of Revenue Analysis.

If that same family had lived in Anchorage, the large city with the lowest taxes, it would have paid just $1,880, the study showed.

For high-income families, the difference in tax burdens was even more striking. A family of three bringing home $150,000 annually would have paid $21,955 in Philadelphia, about four times as much as the $5,336 due in Anchorage.

Here’s a look at the most highly taxed big cities, as ranked by the study, and the typical taxes paid at a few income levels.

Note: The four taxes used in the comparison are individual income tax, real property tax on residential property, general sales and use tax, and automobile taxes, including gasoline tax, registration fees, excise tax and personal property tax. Federal income taxes are not taken into account.

City/Gross Family Income Income Tax Property Tax Sales Tax Auto Tax Total Tax Share of Income
1. Philadelphia
$25,000 1,672 1,786 566 209 4,233 16.90%
$75,000 5,036 5,199 1,046 325 11,606 15.50%
$150,000 10,009 9,898 9,898 404 21,955 14.60%
2. Baltimore 
$25,000 0 1,786 661 2,026 314 10.60%
$75,000 3,689 4,797 1,271 314 10,070 13.40%
$150,000 8,664 9,133 2,026 373 20,196 13.50%
3. Bridgeport, Conn.
$25,000 7 1,786 626 174 2,592 10.40%
$75,000 2,514 3,998 1,174 302 9,670 12.90%
$150,000 6,850 7,612 1,851 738 20,255 13.50%
4. Detroit
$25,000 602 1,786 595 190 3,173 12.70%
$75,000 3,745 3,998 1,097 383 9,223 12.30%
$150,000 9,287 7,612 1,735 648 19,281 12.90%
5. Indianapolis
$25,000 804 1,786 668 112 3,370 13.50%
$75,000 3,181 4,080 1,227 171 8,658 11.50%
$150,000 6,566 8,960 1,935 216 17,677 11.80%
6. Milwaukee
$25,000 0 1,786 604 249 2,638 10.60%
$75,000 2,945 4,103 1,155 393 8,597 11.50%
$150,000 7,415 7,890 1,866 481 17,652 11.80%
7. Des Moines, Iowa
$25,000 450 1,786 668 413 3,316 13.30%
$75,000 2,354 3,888 1,249 917 8,409 11.20%
$150,000 6,191 7,605 1,905 1,140 16,886 11.30%
8. Louisville, Ky. 
$25,000 1,354 1,786 588 174 3,902 15.60%
$75,000 4,582 2,048 1,123 382 8,135 10.80%
$150,000 10,025 4,252 1,769 535 16,581 11.10%
9. Columbus, Ohio 
$25,000 763 1,786 654 182 3,384 13.50%
$75,000 3,640 2,913 1,206 279 8,039 10.70%
$150,000 9,192 5,547 1,888 350 16,977 11.30%
10. Omaha, Neb.
$25,000 0 1,786 712 283 2,780 11.10%
$75,000 2,038 3,833 1,323 622 7,817 10.40%
$150,000 6,435 7,291 2,130 973 16,828 11.30%

Source: Government of the District of Columbia, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Revenue Analysis, 2008

By Emily Brandon, U.S. News & World Report

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