Saturday, October 11, 2008

Massachusetts versus New Hampshire

Sales Taxes
State Sales Tax:
5% (food; prescription drugs; fuel costs; gas, oil, electricity; clothing costing up to $175, are exempt). For a complete list, click here.
Gasoline Tax: 23.5 cents/gallon

Diesel Fuel Tax: 23.5 cents/gallon
Cigarette Tax: $1.51/pack of 20

Personal Income Taxes
Tax Rate Range: Flat rate of 5.3% of federal adjusted gross income
Personal Exemptions: Single - $4,125; Married - $8,250;
Dependents - $1,000
Standard Deduction: None
Medical/Dental Deduction: Federal amount
Federal Income Tax Deduction: None
Retirement Income Taxes: Social Security, civil service, state/local government pensions are exempt. Pension income from other state or local governments that do not tax pension income from Massachusetts public employees is exempt from Massachusetts taxable income.
Retired Military Pay: Not taxed.
Military Disability Retired Pay:

Disability Portion - Length of Service Pay; Member on September 24, 1975 - No tax; Not Member on September 24, 1975 - Taxed, unless combat incurred. Retired Pay - Based solely on disability:
Member on September 24, 1975 - No tax; Not Member on September 24, 1975 - Taxed, unless all pay based on disability and disability resulted from armed conflict, extra-hazardous service, simulated war, or an instrumentality of war.

VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Not subject to federal or state taxes
Military SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax. Check with state department of revenue office.

Property Taxes
Massachusetts does not provide for a general homestead exemption but does have a Homestead Act. The Homestead Act permits a homeowner who occupies a house as his/her principal residence to shield up to $500,000 in equity in that house from creditors. By simply filing a Declaration of Homestead with the appropriate Registry of Deeds, a homeowner may be able to protect his/her residence from the claim of a future creditor. The Homestead Act permits only one spouse to file for the equity protection if each has an ownership interest in the home. The protection offered to the disabled and the elderly is even more comprehensive because it allows a husband and wife who own their own home to each file for the $500,000 equity protection. Click for details.

Massachusetts also has a circuit breaker program that offers a real estate tax credit for persons age 65 and older. Certain taxpayers may be eligible to claim a refundable credit on their state income taxes for the real estate taxes paid during the tax year on the residential property they own or rent in Massachusetts that is used as their principal residence. If the credit due the taxpayer exceeds the amount of the total income tax payable for the year by the taxpayer, the excess amount of the credit will be refunded to the taxpayer without interest. For tax year 2007, the maximum credit allowed for both renters and homeowners is $900. To be eligible for the credit for the 2007 tax year; the taxpayer or spouse, if married filing jointly, must be 65 years of age or older at the close of the 2007 tax year; the taxpayer must own or rent residential property in Massachusetts and occupy the property as his or her principal residence; the taxpayer's "total income" cannot exceed $48,000 for a single filer who is not the head of a household, $60,000 for a head of house hold, or $72,000 for taxpayers filing jointly; and for homeowners, the assessed valuation as of January 1, 2007, before residential exemptions but after abatements, of the homeowner's personal residence cannot exceed $772,000. Click for details.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes
There is no inheritance tax and a limited estate tax on estates valued at $1,000,000 or more.

For further
information, visit the Massachusetts Department of Revenue site.

Sales Taxes
State Sales Tax:
None. There is an 8% tax on lodging and restaurant meals and a 7% tax on two-way communications.

Gasoline Tax: 19.6 cents/gallon
Diesel Fuel Tax: 19.6 cents/gallon
Cigarette Tax: $1.08 cents/pack of 20

Personal Income Taxes
New Hampshire depends more upon real property taxes for revenue than most states since there are no general income, sales or use taxes. The state also receives substantial revenue from taxes on motor fuels, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages sold through the state liquor stores, and pari-mutuel betting. The state income tax is limited to a 5% tax on dividends and interest income of more than $2,400 ($4,800 for joint filers). A $1,200 exemption is available for residents who are 65 years of age or older.
Retirement Income: Not taxed.

Property Taxes
Local property taxes, based upon assessed valuation, are assessed, levied and collected by municipalities. To view the tax rates for each town, click here.

A state education property tax rate of $2.24 (2007) per $1,000 of total equalized valuation is assessed on all New Hampshire property owners. It will be $2.14 for tax year 2008. An elderly exemption for property taxes can be age, net income limits, including Social Security income, and net asset limits. Property taxes can be deferred but accrue interest at the rate of 5% per annum. The deferred property tax may not exceed more than 85% of the equity value of the residence. The deferral is available (if granted) by the assessing officials, to any resident property owner who is at least 65 years old. For single homeowners 65 and older who earn less than $5,000 and married couples who earn less than $6,000, $5,000 of their property's assessed value is exempt from taxes. In addition, the homeowner's other assets besides the home must be worth less than $35,000.

There is a Low & Moderate Income Homeowner's Property Tax Relief program in New Hampshire. Click here. You must own a homestead subject to the state education property tax; reside in such homestead as of April 1 of the year for which the claim for relief is made; have a total household income of (1) $20,000 or less if a single person or (2) $40,000 or less if married or head of a New Hampshire household.

Call 603-271-2687 for details on property taxes or click here for municipal tax rates.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes
New Hampshire's Legacy & Succession Tax was repealed in 2002 and is effective for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2003. As a result there is no inheritance or estate tax.

For further information, visit the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration site or call 603-271-3397.

From Retirement Living

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