In Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Nevada collected $10.7 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Nevada taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.
As shown in Chart 1 below, Nevada’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by personal income) was the twenty-second lowest in the nation for FY 2013 at 9.8 percent—this is -5 percent below the national average of 10.3 percent. As shown in Chart 2, Nevada’s tax burden has grown by 19 percent to 9.8 percent in FY 2013 from 8.2 percent in FY 1950.
Nevada has a high sales tax burden (3.2 percent, 9th highest, and all other taxes burden (3.7 percent, 5th highest), such as amusements taxes, which is not surprising since these taxes naturally target the tourists who visit Las Vegas. Of course, these high taxes are offset by the fact that Nevada does not a have an individual or corporate income tax.
Of course, the tax burdens for local government can vary just as much as they do among the 50 states. As such, we have also calculated the local government tax burden for every county in Nevada—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.
The Nevada counties with the highest local government tax burden include: Eureka County, NV (39 percent), Lander County, NV (23.9 percent), and Storey County, NV (11.3 percent). The Nevada counties with the lowest local government tax burden include: Carson City, NV (2.2 percent), Churchill County, NV (2.3 percent), and Mineral County, NV (2.7 percent).
J. Scott Moody has nearly 20 years experience as a public policy economist with a specialty in tax policy and has over 180 publications. He has worked for numerous national and state-based think tanks such as the American Conservative Union Foundation, Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.