Kiplinger Gives High Marks for Low Taxes



Count a tax-friendly environment as one more reason for people to do business in Florida. last week ranked Florida as the fourth most “tax-friendly” state in the union. Rankings place Florida behind only Wyoming, Alaska and South Dakota, and ahead of Nevada, in terms of a states charging the lowest income, sales, gas and sin taxes.

So what does having the most tax-friendly environment in the South mean for attracting business to the Sunshine State? According to Mark Huey, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, it’s another tool to help in recruitment and retainment of companies. “This is part of Florida’s story that drives economic growth,” he says. “Our favorable tax position drives talent of all kinds here, and that’s good for business.” But Huey noted that the Kiplinger’s rating focused on personal taxes, not on business taxes, the latter of which proves more valuable when it comes to economic development. For business recruitment, Huey says the state could still improve the tax climate. Commercial lease taxes and manufacturing taxes in particular could use reform, he says.

Real estate agents, though, say the ranking serves as just the most recent listing pushing homebuyers to Florida. Xena Vallone, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, says the prospect of lower property taxes and income taxes in particular drive many buyers from the Northeast toward Florida. “They know that when you cross the border you eliminate income taxes right away,” she says. 

Indeed, all five states topping the Kiplinger listings charge no income tax. They also don’t charge any inheritance or estate taxes. And Florida also boasts a lower median property tax than even some states ranked as more tax-friendly. 

Especially for buyers leaving states like Massachusetts and Connecticut, that’s a stark difference. And when you compare the climate in Florida to every other higher-ranked state on the Kiplinger’s list, suddenly Florida looks like the most attractive place in the rankings. “Everybody from the north wants to retire to beaches and warm sunshine,” Vallone says. “As someone coming here from Buffalo, New York, I wouldn’t go to Alaska to live. Many of our residents are looking for a better quality of life and Florida gives them that.”

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