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The Differences Between State and Federal Taxation: What You Need to Know

Taxation can be one of the most complex and time-consuming aspects of managing your finances. 

Understanding the differences between state and federal taxation can be particularly challenging but it is important to ensure that you are correctly filing your taxes and not missing any deductions. 

This post will give you a clear understanding of the key differences between state and federal taxation and what you need to know.

Different Tax Bases:

State and federal taxes are based on different criteria. Federal taxes are based on taxable income which includes earnings, capital gains, and dividends. On the other hand, state taxes may have different bases such as income or sales tax. Some states may not have income tax and instead rely on sales tax to generate revenue. It is important to note that not all states have the same tax laws and it varies from state to state.

Tax Rates:

Another difference between state and federal taxation is the tax rates. While the federal tax rate applies to all Americans, state tax rates vary from state to state. Some states have a flat tax rate, which means that everyone pays the same percentage, while others have a progressive tax rate, which means that those with higher incomes pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. In addition, some states have lower tax rates while others have higher tax rates.


Deductions are a crucial component of taxation that you should not overlook. Deductions are expenses that can reduce your taxable income. While the federal government provides a standard deduction, states have their own deduction rules. Some states allow you to deduct state and local tax payments while others do not. Additionally, some states allow you to deduct charitable donations, medical expenses and other expenses that may not be deductible at the federal level.

Sales Tax:

Sales tax is another area where state and federal taxation differ. Sales tax is only applicable at the state level and excluded at the federal level. State sales taxes vary across the states ranging from a low of 4.5 percent in some states to as high as nine percent in others. In some states, there are local sales taxes in addition to the state tax. It’s important to understand the sales tax laws in your state.

Taxation of Investments:

Investing can also affect your tax liability. For example, capital gains are taxed at the federal level, but some states may not tax capital gains. Other investments, such as municipal bonds, may be exempt from federal taxation, but taxed at the state level. It’s important to have a clear understanding of which investments are taxed at the state level as well as the federal level.

Taxation can be a tricky subject to navigate, but understanding the key differences between state and federal taxation is an essential step in managing your finances. 

Knowing the differences in tax bases, tax rates, deductions, sales tax, and taxation of investments can help you navigate the taxation system with ease.

If you need further assistance with managing your finances, don’t hesitate to book a call with our financial experts at Orange Crush Business Consulting >>>