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Taxes et al at a State or zip code level
Old 01-20-2014, 05:49 PM   #1
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Taxes et al at a State or zip code level

If this answer is some where else pls let me know...thanks. I am looking for a software package that will show me by state or zip code what my tax bill would be for: state tax, property tax, sales tax et al. I need the program to be fairly robust so I can load in how I will earn money in retirement. SS, pension, deferred salary, 401k etc. I would also load in the cost of the house and it would calculate the property tax given what exemptions exist and how the assessed value is calculated. I could go on but you get the idea. Thanks in advance for the help

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Old 01-20-2014, 06:11 PM   #2
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I'd be curious about such an app as well, but since the calculations are pretty simple I suspect the answer is just to look up the info for the various states and load it into an Excel spreadsheet (or whatever database programming method you prefer). All the info on state tax rates is readily available, so if it doesn't need a pretty interface I would think one could get something like this together in an afternoon or two.

That said, if somebody else has already gone through the trouble I'd be happy to take advantage...
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:21 PM   #3
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Kiplinger's has a state by state tax guide for retirees. Shows most of what you are looking for. Not exactly robust but at least it gives all of the tax%'s.

State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees-Kiplinger
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:37 PM   #4
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Kiplinger's has a state by state tax guide for retirees. Shows most of what you are looking for. Not exactly robust but at least it gives all of the tax%'s.

State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees-Kiplinger
thanks guys it was actualy the Kiplinger site that got me working on it. I penciled out some of the math but as we all know the devil is in the details with different sales and property tax by local area and different assesment values as the baseline for property tax...it makes my head hurt. For someone smarter than me this is an app I would buy in a heart beat
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:12 PM   #5
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thanks guys it was actualy the Kiplinger site that got me working on it. I penciled out some of the math but as we all know the devil is in the details with different sales and property tax by local area and different assesment values as the baseline for property tax...it makes my head hurt. For someone smarter than me this is an app I would buy in a heart beat
But since so much of the state/local taxes are based upon the value of the house, and house values depend on location location location (to take the real estate term), its kind of hard to even measure that at a zip code level, unless you take the average value for a zip code, which might work for big cities but would not work for small towns such as were I live where prices might vary from 50k up to 1,000k depending on the house.
As to sales taxes figure in general that all local govs take all they can. But as I pointed out real estate taxes have the value of the house involved in it, unless you want to take the median house in each district, and look at its taxes, which you can do now by typically going to each taxing entities web sites. So you would need to know the school district, as well as if the property you are looking at is in a city or not. (again in my zip code some properties are and some are not)
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:49 PM   #6
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thanks guys it was actualy the Kiplinger site that got me working on it. I penciled out some of the math but as we all know the devil is in the details with different sales and property tax by local area and different assesment values as the baseline for property tax...it makes my head hurt. For someone smarter than me this is an app I would buy in a heart beat
Sites like zillow.com provide information about the actual property taxes paid by homeowners, at least for many cities/locations. They are accurate to the penny where I live, and are accurate in the few other places that I track. However, you have to dig a little to get the information. While they do not provide useful tax rates by zip code, you can locate comparable homes in different regions to get an idea about property tax differences. You may need to factor in or estimate tax nuances too, such as possible credits for older homeowners and Proposition 13 policies in California (this can be done for California since information on when the home was purchased is also provided).

This type of information supports other data that indicate my property tax bill could be cut in half (or more) if I moved from California to other desirable states, including states with no or low state income taxes.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:55 PM   #7
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Or in Texas (if your close to age 65) the freeze on assement increases that is available at age 65. I know that for my house the school property taxes more than tripled when I inherited the house as my folks had had a frozen assesment for 20 years.
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Old 01-20-2014, 08:42 PM   #8
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In places like California with Proposition 13, a newcomer homeowner may pay $6K/yr while his long-time resident neighbor pays $900. Look around with Zillow and you will see.
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Old 01-21-2014, 06:37 AM   #9
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Within a quarter mile of my house, there are homes worth $50K and homes worth $2M. There is also a county line. But all are in the same Zip code. How could you possibly take all that into consideration?
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:23 AM   #10
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Like the others, property tax varies dramatically. In our small town, the folks that live within city limits pay almost double what those just outside pay - all in the same city & zip code. Some cities and counties have income and/or sales taxes too, but you'd have to look each one up I'd think.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:44 AM   #11
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Part of the reason online sellers like Amazon don't like sales taxes is that it is almost impossible to program and keep current all the different local variations on state sales taxes.

I don't understand why you need to plan at this degree of detail.
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:51 AM   #12
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In places like California with Proposition 13, a newcomer homeowner may pay $6K/yr while his long-time resident neighbor pays $900.
You have put your finger on one of the dangers of limited-input tax calculators. While most tax guides steer retirees away from California, for those Californians who purchased their housing years ago the total tax burden just may be quite reasonable. Compare that to some other states without income taxes but with sky-high property taxes. Those states may look good in the 2-page magazine article but when you look at the all-in costs California just may be a low-cost place to be - believe it or not. The posted example of a ~$5k difference in property taxes between similar houses can make all the difference to someone on a limited budget.

I suspect that other states may also have nuances that make big differences in the tax burden. The devil is in the details.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:02 AM   #13
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... Those states may look good in the 2-page magazine article but when you look at the all-in costs California just may be a low-cost place to be...
... but not for newcomers.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:04 AM   #14
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... but not for newcomers.
And rightly so !
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:11 AM   #15
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... although the newcomers are really needed to raise the revenue to support schools, fire stations, and the police. As is well known, these public servants are not, ahem, inexpensive, due to their pension. The $900/yr RE tax on a $600K home is not going to cut it.

A few years ago, I read in National Geographic schools in San Jose were complaining about not having enough budget for school supplies, and they blame Prop. 13 for it.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:29 AM   #16
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To the OP I'd say there ain't no such app. I'd say that such an app would be about as big and complex as a state version of income tax software. And you'd probably need to nail down the kind of house you wanted, go through interview questions (to determine if you'd get homestead or senior tax benefits, etc), and then maybe it could list county/towns with estimates for that state. But since property taxes are defined locally, it would be a really hard problem...much harder than the pita sales tax calculation.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:52 AM   #17
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... although the newcomers are really needed to raise the revenue to support schools, fire stations, and the police. As is well known, these public servants are not, ahem, inexpensive, due to their pension. The $900/yr RE tax on a $600K home is not going to cut it.

A few years ago, I read in National Geographic schools in San Jose were complaining about not having enough budget for school supplies, and they blame Prop. 13 for it.
That's the talking points. The discussion is quite a bit more involved than what you let on though.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:50 PM   #18
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You have put your finger on one of the dangers of limited-input tax calculators. While most tax guides steer retirees away from California, for those Californians who purchased their housing years ago the total tax burden just may be quite reasonable.
Yes, this is certainly true.

In California, I currently pay almost $3.3K/yr in property taxes for the house I have lived in for over 15 years (1200 sq ft, 3/2, 50+ years old tract home). Two of my neighbors pay almost $5K in property taxes for comparable houses, which they recently purchased. The previous owner for one of these houses was paying only $1.5K, but he owned the house for over 50 years.

So property taxes for comparable houses in my immediate vicinity range from $1.5K to $5K, depending on the purchase date. One can appropriately evaluate this information at on-line sites such as zillow.com since the purchase date is available.

Still, the $3.3K in property taxes I pay as a "long-term" homeowner for a relatively small beat-up house in California is significantly higher than what I would pay in several other states that I find desirable, including states with no state income tax. And I live in a comparatively inexpensive California town with respect to property taxes.

My property taxes increase 2%/yr. I may need to live in my house for another 45 years before there is equalization with some of these other states. I guess that is something to look forward to on my 100th birthday. But if I decide to move to a comparable house in California, my property taxes will sky rocket.

So yes, property taxes for Californian's who have owned their homes for many decades may be similar to those in several low-tax states. Californian's, such as myself, who have owned their homes for one to two decades may pay twice as much as they would in low-tax states. But new homeowners will pay triple or more. One slight caveat. Californian's who purchased their homes 2-4 years ago benefit from the low property valuations at purchase time.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:21 PM   #19
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Yes, this is certainly true.

In California, I currently pay almost $3.3K/yr in property taxes for the house I have lived in for over 15 years (1200 sq ft, 3/2, 50+ years old tract home). Two of my neighbors pay almost $5K in property taxes for comparable houses, which they recently purchased. The previous owner for one of these houses was paying only $1.5K, but he owned the house for over 50 years.

So property taxes for comparable houses in my immediate vicinity range from $1.5K to $5K, depending on the purchase date. One can appropriately evaluate this information at on-line sites such as zillow.com since the purchase date is available.

Still, the $3.3K in property taxes I pay as a "long-term" homeowner for a relatively small beat-up house in California is significantly higher than what I would pay in several other states that I find desirable, including states with no state income tax. And I live in a comparatively inexpensive California town with respect to property taxes.

My property taxes increase 2%/yr. I may need to live in my house for another 45 years before there is equalization with some of these other states. I guess that is something to look forward to on my 100th birthday. But if I decide to move to a comparable house in California, my property taxes will sky rocket.

So yes, property taxes for Californian's who have owned their homes for many decades may be similar to those in several low-tax states. Californian's, such as myself, who have owned their homes for one to two decades may pay twice as much as they would in low-tax states. But new homeowners will pay triple or more. One slight caveat. Californian's who purchased their homes 2-4 years ago benefit from the low property valuations at purchase time.
Of course a piece of this is just the difference in the cost of housing. Compare Ca to say a small town in the Midwest or South (away from the coasts) and the house price would be very different, thus the property taxes because they are based on value would be very different. Perhaps better for this would be to put the percentage of home price the local taxes run.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:37 PM   #20
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To the OP I'd say there ain't no such app. I'd say that such an app would be about as big and complex as a state version of income tax software. And you'd probably need to nail down the kind of house you wanted, go through interview questions (to determine if you'd get homestead or senior tax benefits, etc), and then maybe it could list county/towns with estimates for that state. But since property taxes are defined locally, it would be a really hard problem...much harder than the pita sales tax calculation.
I've actually been using TT to do this. That will let me pin down fed/state income taxes. Sales tax doesn't vary that much by county/city within a state, and you can at least eyeball property tax.
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