Sales taxes are an easy way for states to generate revenue, though some states might rely more heavily on those collections than others.
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Forty-five states, and the District of Columbia, collect sales taxes at the state level. Among those that do not are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. In Alaska, however, localities are allowed to charge local sales taxes.
Thirty-seven other states also allow local sales tax collections.
Here’s a look at which states collected the most revenue per capita from sales taxes in fiscal 2017, as compiled by the Tax Foundation.
During fiscal 2017, Hawaii collected $2,269 in state sales tax per capita, far outpacing other states.
As noted by the Tax Foundation, Hawaii has a relatively broad sales tax that covers everything from consumer goods and services to business-to-business transactions.
The state has a state sales tax rate of 4 percent – far from California’s top rate of 7.25 percent. It has a combined sgtate and local rate of about 4.41 percent.
The District of Columbia
Not a state, but the District of Columbia's state sales tax collections ranked second in fiscal 2017, at $2,045 per person.
In October, the District of Columbia increased its sales tax rate to 6 percent from 5.75 percent.
The state of Washington generated $1,959 in sales tax collections per person.
Washington has a combined state and local sales tax rate of about 9.17 percent – among the top five highest in the country. The statewide rate alone is 6.5 percent.
Nevada’s statewide sales tax rate as of 2019 is 6.85 percent. It has an average local rate of 1.29 percent – making a combined rate of 8.14 percent.
State tax collections per capita were $1,586 in fiscal 2017.
South Dakota ranked fifth on the Tax Foundation’s list of states and localities that collected the most income per capita in fiscal 2017 – at $1,225.
The state sales tax rate as of 2019 is 4.5 percent, while the combined state and local rate is about 6.4 percent.
However, like Hawaii, South Dakota has a broad sales tax base that includes many services.
South Dakota was at the center of a Supreme Court case last year that overturned a 1992 ruling giving states the authority to force online retailers to collect sales tax in states where they have no physical presence.
Florida’s sales tax collections per capita were $1,208 in fiscal 2017.
As of 2019, the state sales tax rate was 6 percent, while the combined state and local rate was about 7.05 percent.
The Sunshine State is typically considered one of the more tax-friendly regions since its residents are not charged income tax.
On the other hand, Virginia and Colorado collected the lowest sales taxes per capita, at $469 and $531, respectively. Those two were followed by Alabama ($545), Georgia ($549) and Missouri ($590).