April 15th is almost upon us, and if you are like most people, you are sitting hunched over your desk trying to find just one more deduction to claim before dropping your tax return in the mail. So if tax time has got you down, maybe you should consider moving and buying a home in Las Vegas. The following are excerpts from an article posted on The Credit Card Insider this month about paying taxes. One thing I couldn’t help but notice: when you get to the list of the eight cities considered the “best” cities for people who hate to pay taxes, Las Vegas and Mount Pleasant are the only two where you don’t need a winter coat!
Best Cities for People Who Hate Paying Taxes
THE INSIDER – April 1st, 2014
By Kimberly Rotter
No matter how you feel about the way our government spends our money, none of us wants to pay more tax than we absolutely must. So where can we go to avoid a high tax bill?
States that have no income tax
Seven states do not tax wage earners on their income. They are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. Two others - New Hampshire and Tennessee - tax some types of income, such as interest and dividends, but not wages. But before you get excited about packing up and moving, you should know that taxpayers in some of those states actually bear tax burdens that are among the heaviest in the country. That’s because some of those states more than make up for the lack of income taxes by taxing heavily in other areas, like property, retail goods and commodities like alcohol and tobacco.
If you really despise paying taxes, the number you need to pay attention to is the “effective tax rate.” In other words, at the end of the year, how much of your money has gone to taxes of all kinds, including property taxes, sales taxes and excise taxes as well as income taxes on wages or investment earnings? What we see upon closer examination is that in some (not all) no-income-tax states, the other taxes more than outweigh the income tax savings, resulting in a heavier overall tax burden for the 99 percent, and in particular for the taxpayers with incomes in the lowest 80 percent. (This data is based on the 2012 tax year and effective tax rates calculated by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.)
Home affordability and other lifestyle issues
It won’t do you much good to know you can save money on taxes by moving to a certain place if you can’t afford to live in that place. Historically, the median U.S. home price has been around 2.6 times the median U.S. annual income. A similar number - two-and-a-half - is the benchmark that the past few generations of homebuyers have used to measure affordability. If you earn $100,000 per year, you can likely afford a home with a price tag around $250,000, give or take a few thousand dollars. For the purposes of this article, housing affordability will assume a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent ratio of principal and interest to income.
Other factors to consider are quality of life issues. Although certain segments of the population are true urbanites who crave convenience and culture, more people value quiet and space. And urban or rural, we all want our children to be safe and inspired at school. We enjoy public attractions like theaters, museums and state campgrounds. We desire low crime rates. So, with full acknowledgement that lifestyle criteria are subjective and depend on each person’s preferences and priorities, we’ll identify cities in tax-advantaged states that have the most to offer their residents.
Best cities for people who hate paying taxes
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Wilmington, Delaware
- Missoula, Montana
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Washington, District of Columbia
- Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
- Casper, Wyoming
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire
What The Insider Says About Living in Las Vegas
Average temperatures are hottest in June, July and August, as expected. But keep a perspective. Heat in Las Vegas (and in Nevada overall) is not the oppressive discomfort of a Gulf Coast or mid-Atlantic coast, semi-tropical sticky summer. Las Vegas is among the top 10 cities in the nation with the lowest average humidity - at about 30 percent. And that makes life very nice, indeed.
Anyhow, you can escape city heat by heading up to green places where most of the master planned communities in Las Vegas have nestled. Among the trees up there, temperatures can be as much as nine degrees cooler than the city center. Some communities even have lakes. Recommended havens include The Lakes, Desert Shores (four beautiful lakes in the complex), Peccole Ranch and Summerlin.
Summerlin is the largest of the planned communities with 35-square miles of villages, shopping and office space on the western border of the city. For comparison, San Francisco has 49-square miles. Great desert ambiance embraces wonderful man-made landscaping. The housing market in Las Vegas has rebounded to a median range that is now at $185,000.
The caveat of moving to Las Vegas: the best candidates will have an income stream planned. Without your own business, a retirement income or special skill you know is in demand, Las Vegas poses a challenge. The unemployment rate is above the national average, but it is dropping. Consumer prices have also dropped and hourly wages tend to be about the same or slightly higher than the national average, and the general trend is positive.
Team Leader, The Tonnesen Team
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Nevada
3185 St Rose Pkwy #100 Henderson, NV 89052
With over 30 years of experience helping families call Las Vegas "home!"
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