An Overview of State and Local Taxes

State capitol building

States use the revenue earned from tax collection, fees, licenses, and money the federal government grants them to finance their government services and institutions. These include schools, law enforcement departments, health and welfare benefits, and other programs that are beneficial to the community members.   

There are a several types of state and local taxes. They vary by state, but typically include:  

  • Individual income taxes  
  • Corporate income taxes  
  • Property taxes  
  • Motor vehicle license taxes  
  • Sales tax 
  • And more 

Am I required to file a state tax return?  

Typically, it depends on where you live and if your income is over a certain threshold. Every state has its own tax laws and requirements. Check your state’s department of revenue or taxation website to find out if you should file a state return this year.  

If you live or work in one of these states, you do not have to file a state tax return or pay income taxes to that state: 

  • Alaska 
  • Florida 
  • Nevada 
  • South Dakota 
  • Texas 
  • Washington 
  • Wyoming 

New Hampshire and Tennessee do not have income tax either, but they do tax dividend and interest income, so you may still need to file a state return in those states. Remember – even if you are not required to file a state return, you may still be subject to federal income taxes. 

If your state owes you a tax refund, you must file a return to claim it – even if you’re not required to file a state return. 

Where’s my state tax refund?

You can check the status of your state refund online through your state’s website.  

When you file with TaxSlayer, your federal and state return statuses are easily accessible in your account. When you log in, you can clearly see when your returns have been accepted. Once your state accepts your return, your refund is processed and distributed. 

How do I pay my state taxes? 

When you file with TaxSlayer, you can pay any state taxes you owe when you file. Otherwise, you can mail in your payment with a paper return or see if your state’s department of revenue or taxation accepts online payments with a credit/debit card or bank transfer. 

When are my state taxes due? 

State tax deadlines are typically the same as the federal deadline. However, sometimes states choose to extend the deadline for tax-relief purposes, e.g., natural disasters and other unexpected, special circumstances. 

How do I file an amended state return? 

Most states require you to file amended state returns by mail. You can prepare an amended state return online with TaxSlayer, then print and mail it. For more information on your state’s amended return policy, check with your state taxing authority. 

How do I file a state tax extension? 

Each state has its own requirements for tax extensions. Some allow automatic extensions to file without having to file a form to request one, whereas some do require you to file a request. 

Keep in mind – a tax extension simply gives you more time to file. It does not provide an extension of time to pay taxes you owe.

Do I need to file multiple state tax returns? 

You may need to file multiple state tax returns if you have moved within the last year, work in multiple states, or live and work in different states.   

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against double taxation – meaning two or more states are no longer allowed to tax someone for the same income. If you work in a state that has a reciprocal tax agreement with your home state, you may be able to submit a document to your employer and avoid having taxes withheld from your paycheck. If the two states do not have a reciprocal agreement, you may need to prepare multiple state returns, but you will be refunded for unnecessary withholdings from your paychecks.  

For more details about these special circumstances, read Living in One State, Working in Another. 

Are state taxes deductible?  

The SALT deduction allows taxpayers to deduct either their state income tax or state sales tax, plus state and local property taxes. As of tax year 2018, the cap on the SALT deduction (income (or sales) tax plus property taxes combined) is $10,000.   

For help calculating your SALT deduction, read How do I calculate my deduction for state and local sales taxes? 

See more answers to your state tax questions here

The information in this article is up to date through tax year 2021 (taxes filed 2022). 

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