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Where are the Highest Property Taxes in the US?

August 25th

It can feel sometimes, for all homeowners, like their property tax rates must be excessive. However, some parts of the nation are still forced to pay more than others.

According to new calculations by the Tax Foundation, of the ten counties with the highest-ranking property taxes in the United States, all are in New Jersey and New York. Hunterdon County, in northwestern New Jersey, had the highest property taxes in the nation, with homeowners typically paying $8,216 annually. Similarly, taxes in Nassau, on Long Island, came in at a close second with $8,206, and Westchester County finished third with a median property tax rate of $8,160.

Connecticut and New Hampshire also had counties that finished high in the rankings. Conversely, Louisiana and Alaska featured at the bottom of the list, with the lowest property tax rates in the nation.

The Tax Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that researches tax policy, recently conducted a study on property tax rates in the United States. They used census data covering five years, ending in 2009

Why are the Property Taxes so much Higher in Some Areas?

Property tax rates are mainly affected by two key factors: the amount of services provided by the local government, and the revenue shared by state governments. Those areas with the highest property taxes are generally those where much of the responsibility for running programs lies with local governments rather than the state.

Counties in the northeast, in states such as New Jersey and New York, often spend a lot on schools, recreational facilities and expensive police and fire departments. On the other hand, lower tax areas generally spend less on these services.

Some states also impose high costs on local governments, forcing them to pay to maintain minimum school standards or low-income housing. These are all things that the local governments would need to raise taxes to pay for.

States with lower property taxes often get revenue from other areas, such as taxing oil production, gambling or other lucrative industries. Louisiana and Alaska raise much of their budgets this way, rather than through expensive taxes.


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