Personal Finance

Here’s where to live if you want the highest tax return

Financial advice company SmartAsset analyzed IRS data for 2016 and found Florida ranked No. 10 among the 50 states with the highest average tax refund. Texas was No. 1.
Financial advice company SmartAsset analyzed IRS data for 2016 and found Florida ranked No. 10 among the 50 states with the highest average tax refund. Texas was No. 1. AP

Florida wins some and loses some, but in a new study, SmartAsset analyzed data from the IRS for all 50 states to find where residents received the highest average tax refund for 2016. Florida ranked No. 10.

So we’re not Texas, which was No. 1 with an average tax refund of $3,133 received last year. Like Florida, Texas has no state income tax.

According to IRS data tracked by financial advice company SmartAsset, there were about 7.8 million tax filers who received a refund in Florida for 2016. These people received a total of $22.4 billion, which translated to an average income tax refund of $2,877. If someone was to use that refund to pay for average housing in Florida it would equal about 2.8 months’ worth of housing payments, according to Census data on the median monthly housing cost in the state.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida’s median selected monthly owner costs for someone with a mortgage was $1,422 between 2012-2016. Selected gross rent in that five-year period was $1,032.

“Residents in Florida will already know it’s a great state to retire to, so why not put that tax refund into a retirement account, like an IRA?” the New York City-based SmartAsset said.

Take that, Thrillist, which, last year, ranked Florida as the worst state in the union, for several vague reasons, such as a lack of “somewhat productive famous people.” As if Pitbull, Gloria Estefan and Jimmy Buffett count for squat.

Just behind Texas, top ranked tax return states included Oklahoma ($3,088), Louisiana ($3,073), New York ($2,986) and Connecticut ($2,958). These were the five best states with the largest average tax refund.

Just behind Florida, we bested Wyoming ($2,853), Illinois ($2,815) and California ($2,811).

The state with the smallest return? Maine, with $2,302.

Michigan, which ranked No. 1 on Thrillist’s best states list, was No. 43, with an average return of $2,491. But, according to the website’s rankings, there’s an “embarrassment of beer riches” there and $2,491 will pay down one major bar tab.

Follow @HowardCohen

  Comments