“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” - Benjamin Franklin
Taxes are an unavoidable cost of doing business. No one enjoys the amount of labor involved in calculating taxes. Still, it is both a legal requirement and a duty businesses assume in exchange for the significant assistance society provides its people and businesses alike.
However, as an entrepreneur, you can ensure that you find the best ways to cut your expenses, take advantage of tax breaks or deductions when possible, file your taxes correctly and stay away from audits and fines.
As a business, the first step toward survival and growth is understanding your federal, state, and local taxes. All businesses are required to pay business taxes, but the taxes you must pay and how you pay them depends on the sort of organization you own. They also depend on where your business is located in the United States. These rules vary between states and can change often based on congressional rulings. Hence, it is important to keep track of the federal tax code and comprehend the extent of your tax obligations. More importantly, before investing in a business, check out the best states for business taxes in the U.S.
In this article, we will break down the different categories of business taxes entrepreneurs need to know about. We will look at the most business-friendly states in the U.S. and those that ranked at the bottom of the list in 2023.
While individuals are primarily concerned with federal and state income taxes, businesses also need to consider other tax categories. Though the combination and percentage of taxes levied will vary in different states, the primary categories of business taxes are as follows:
All businesses, except for partnerships, must file an annual income tax return. The form you use will depend on how your company is set up. A pay-as-you-go tax is the federal income tax. You must pay the tax as you earn or receive money during the year. Typically, an employee's compensation has income tax deducted from it. You may need to pay approximated tax if you do not pay your taxes through withholdings or if you do not pay enough that way. If projected tax payments are not required, you can pay any taxes due when you file your return. Some states, like Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Florida, Texas, Nevada, Washington, and Tennessee, do not collect taxes on personal income.
The social security and Medicare taxes largely applied to those who work for themselves is known as the self-employment tax (SE tax). Your social security benefits are influenced by the SE tax payments you make. Retirement benefits, disability benefits, survivor benefits, and hospital insurance (Medicare) benefits are all provided through social security coverage.
Generally, if one of the following applies, you must pay SE tax and submit Schedule SE (Form 1040 or 1040-SR).
You have various employment tax obligations when you have employees, including payments and documents to complete.
Taxes on employment include the following:
If you do any of the following, you may be required to pay excise taxes:
Considering the variation in taxation regulations, entrepreneurs must evaluate the laws to choose the best states for business tax.
As an entrepreneur, the taxes you pay to the state are added to your overhead and can eat away at your profits. Hence, entrepreneurs will always look for ways to lower their business taxes and keep their companies profitable. In the US, different states have different tax regulations. Hence when entrepreneurs want to set up a new business or move their business location, they tend to choose states that are tax-friendly for businesses. These are the states that have the lowest tax rates.
Whether you are an employee or an entrepreneur, you’re probably not going to pick up and move simply to avoid state and local taxes. There are simpler ways to cut your tax bill, like saving for retirement, calculating business expenses, and taking advantage of education credits and deductions.
An independent tax research organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Tax Foundation released its annual report, the State Business Tax Climate Index for 2023, which ranks state tax regimes. This helps small business owners and entrepreneurs make the best choice possible when they want to set up new businesses or change the location of their existing companies. The Index provides a bird's eye view of how different states structure their business taxation systems, providing a road map for improvement if required.
|State||Corporate tax, rank||Individual income tax, rank||Sales tax, rank||Property tax, rank||Unemployment insurance tax rank||State-Specific Benefits|
|Wyoming||1||1||6||34||28||No corporate or individual income tax.|
|South Dakota||1||1||34||14||37||No corporate or individual income tax.|
|Alaska||28||1||5||26||44||No state-level sales tax.|
|Florida||10||1||21||12||3||No individual income taxes.|
|Montana||22||24||3||21||18||High proportion of college graduates in the labor market.|
No state-level sales tax.
|New Hampshire||44||9||1||43||45||Generous government resources.|
No sales tax.
Residents earn more per person.
|Nevada||25||5||44||5||46||No corporate or individual income tax.|
|Utah||14||10||22||8||16||Greatest approval rate for small business loans.|
|Indiana||11||15||19||2||27||Ranks as the best state to start a business due to low taxes + reasonable cost of living.|
|North Carolina||5||17||20||13||10||A 14,581 net increase in the number of new businesses since 2020.|
States that rank higher in these studies often have one thing in common - they lack a significant business tax, which greatly improves their overall score. While every state imposes property and unemployment insurance taxes, some do not levy a corporate or individual income tax, like Nevada, South Dakota, or Wyoming. Similarly, no state-level sales taxes are levied in Alaska, New Hampshire, or Montana, while no individual income taxes are levied in Florida or Tennessee.
According to Forbes, many other states also have distinct advantages over others. For example, due to their business-friendly policies,
The quality and quantity of the workforce also play an important role in business survival. With over 40% of their workforce having a college degree, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Connecticut are poised for success. Meanwhile, California, Alaska, and Colorado boast the largest working populations.
The Tax Foundation also releases a list of the worst states for business taxes every year, which revealed results for 2023 included in the table below:
|State||Corporate tax, rank||Individual income tax, rank||Sales tax, rank||Property tax, rank||Unemployment insurance tax rank||Most Prohibitive Disadvantage|
|Alabama||18||30||50||18||19||Strict business compliance regulations|
|Rhode Island||40||33||24||41||49||Shortest average work week|
|Hawaii||19||46||27||32||30||Low business survival rate|
|Vermont||41||39||17||48||17||High business start-up costs|
|Minnesota||43||43||29||31||34||High corporate tax rate|
|Maryland||33||45||30||42||41||High labor costs|
|California||46||49||47||19||24||High overhead expenses|
|New York||24||50||43||49||40||High costs of living|
|New Jersey||48||48||42||45||32||High corporate tax rate|
In addition, Forbes noted that some states struggled to maintain healthy business growth. For example,
The states at the bottom of the list usually have complex, non-neutral taxes with comparably high rates. For instance, New Jersey has some of the nation's highest property tax, the highest corporate income taxes, some of the highest individual income taxes, a particularly harsh approach to treating foreign income, an inheritance tax, and some of the worst structured individual income taxes.
Taxes affect a company's profitability, the location of a business, and the creation and retention of jobs. If taxes eat a higher portion of profits, the expense is transferred to customers, staff, shareholders, or a mix of these parties. As you might expect, businesses are more drawn to states with lower taxes.
According to Forbes, the list below includes the top states to launch a business in 2023.
|Rank||State||Business Costs||Business Climate||Financial Accessibility||Economy||Workforce||Total Weighted Score||Score out of 100|
According to a study that evaluated several federal and state government reports, independent studies, and responses from real business owners from all over the US, the states that make it most feasible to launch a startup include:
|State||Most Business-Friendly Feature|
|Texas||Best overall for starting a new business|
|Utah||Best for Business Financing|
|Montana||Best for Business-friendly Policies|
|Georgia||Best for Cost of Labor|
|Florida||Best State for Starting a Business for Tax Purposes|
|California||Best for Innovation|
|Oklahoma||Best for Cost of Doing Business|
|Idaho||Best for Real Estate|
|North Carolina||Best for Starting an LLC|
|Delaware||Best for Privacy Protection|
The state and local taxes you pay annually can significantly impact your company's financial health. They affect the expansion of employment and the local economy in your company's area. Due to the marked differences in taxation across various states, you may find it challenging to decide where to register your business or change locations if needed. As a result, it's critical to understand the taxes you must pay as a business owner and ask for expert advice when you need it!
To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we hereby inform you that any information contained in this blog is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding tax-related penalties under federal, state, or local tax law.
Category: Management Advice