State income taxes are taxes levied from the income of each individual resident of the state. States are independent from one another in their taxing authority and all state tax forms differ in some ways. Forms for these taxes usually start with federal taxable income or with federal adjusted gross. State income taxes are on top of the federal income tax which currently tops out at 35%. As of 2006, the highest rate of state income tax is that of Vermont, with a maximum rate of 9.5%. Of all states that are imposing state income taxes, the lowest maximum rate is that of Illinois, which levies a flat tax rate of 3%.
Some states do not impose state income taxes
Some states choose not to impose income tax. These states include Alaska (people who are living in this state actually get paid for living there), Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Additionally, New Hampshire and Tennessee limit their state income taxes to dividends and interest income only. If you live or work in one of these states, you will owe state income taxes even though your income is exempted from federal income tax by a treaty.
Some states exempt people who have small amount of income, who are in the military or who are in a state that does not have an income tax at all. If your home is located in a tax state but you are working in a tax-free state, no tax is withheld for the tax-free state, but you have a tax liability to your home state for your income. To avoid owing money at tax time, you should request that state tax for your home state be withheld.
Where should we file state income tax return?
Every state has a provision called “source income.” They all want to tax any income earned in their states, regardless of your tax home status, state residency, or citizenship. Normally, people will have to file state income tax return in the state where they earn income. Figuring out the state filing requirements can be complicated if you are earning income in more than one state. If you have worked in more than one state, you will probably have to file a part-year return with each state.
Where to get forms?
Presently, all the states have websites from which you can download the forms that you need for filing state income taxes. If you work in Minnesota, you will find tax forms at the Minnesota Department of Revenue website. You can also find links to all state revenue department home pages at the U.S. Treasury’s State Links page.