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Scott County’s tax burden is among lowest in Tennessee

March 28, 2024

The following is reprinted from the Independent Herald.

Scott County has one of the lowest tax burdens in Tennessee — and in the nation — and it’s not local officials who are tooting that horn.

An annual study by the website SmartAsset has ranked each county in the United States, and found that Scott County has one of the lowest tax burdens of them all.

The study found that Scott County ranks fifth-lowest in the State of Tennessee among counties’ tax burden, and among the Top 100 counties nationwide — placing 95th overall. For perspective, there are 3,143 counties across the 50 states, meaning Scott County’s tax burden ranks among the lowest 4% nationally.

The top Tennessee counties were Hancock County, Johnson County, Fentress County and Grundy County, followed by Scott County. Trailing Scott County were McNairy County, Campbell County, Claiborne County, Pickett County and Van Buren County.

SmartAsset looked at several different types of tax to reach an outcome, including income tax, property tax, sales tax and fuel tax.

Tennessee does not have an income tax, and is one of only a handful of states in the nation without an income tax, which helped all Tennessee counties among the national ratings.

By the same token, Tennessee’s sales tax differs little from county to county because the state’s tax is uniform. The local option sales tax, implemented at the county level, varies slightly. The study found that Scott Countians pay less in sales tax than any of the other nine counties with the lowest tax burdens in the state.

Fuel tax was determined by the study’s authors by factoring in miles driven by motorists of each county. There, too, Scott County ranked lower than most other counties on the list, except Hancock County, Johnson County, and Pickett County.

One of the biggest factors in the study was property tax. The average Scott County property owner pays $619 annually in property taxes, the study found, which is higher than Hancock, Fentress, Grundy, McNairy, Pickett or Van Buren counties, but lower than Johnson, Campbell, Claiborne and most other counties in the state.

The tax burden index was ranked at 84.84 for Scott County, with a higher number being better. Grundy County was slightly better at 84.89, followed by Fentress County at 85.04, Johnson County at 85.12 and Hancock County at 85.33.

As a general rule, Tennessee counties fared well across the board when compared to the taxes paid by the rest of the nation. Fentress County ranked No. 89 nationally, followed by Scott County at No. 95 nationally. Other adjoining counties: Campbell County ranks at No. 105 nationally, Pickett County ranks No. 110 nationally, Morgan County ranks No. 164 nationally, and Anderson County ranks No. 384 nationally. McCreary County ranks a distant No. 1,516 nationally, largely because Kentucky has a state income tax.

Not surprisingly, the states with the highest tax burden nationally were states like California, Oregon, New York and Massachusetts. Perhaps surprising was that Iowa ranked as one of the most-taxed states in the nation. The lowest-taxed states included Tennessee, Texas and Florida.

Last modified: March 28, 2024

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