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Without a doubt, one of the more contentious issues in any race for federal office has long been the Internal Revenue Code, with some candidates arguing that it's far too complex and in need of a complete overhaul, and others advocating for smaller scale reform such as reducing the number of brackets.

As fascinating as the debates on this subject are, it naturally raises questions about the relative complexity of the tax codes of the 50 states. Interestingly enough, a D.C.-based nonprofit, the Tax Foundation, recently released a report ranking each state on the overall structure of its tax code.

Specifically, the researchers behind the report examined the tax codes of the 50 states in five areas -- corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance tax and property tax -- assigning rankings for each category, as well as overall performance.

In general, those states with tax codes viewed as being largely transparent and evenly applied fared better than those with tax codes viewed as being exceedingly complex and non-neutral.     

The states earning the top five spots included:

  • Wyoming (1)
  • South Dakota (2)
  • Alaska (3)
  • Florida (4)
  • Nevada (5)

Florida's solid ranking should perhaps come as no surprise given its reputation as a tax-friendly haven. Indeed, the Sunshine State came in first for individual income tax, second for unemployment insurance tax and tenth for property tax.

As for the states earning the bottom five spots, they included:

  • New Jersey (50)
  • New York (49)
  • California (48)
  • Vermont (47)
  • Minnesota (46)

While reports like these must always be taken with a grain of salt, it's nevertheless encouraging to see Florida's tax code continuing to earn high marks for its transparency.

Should you find yourself with questions or concerns about state or federal tax compliance, or other tax-related matters, consider skilled legal professional to learn more.

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