Recently I came across a very cool tax calculator by Tax-Rates.org that allows you to estimate your 2013 tax bill at the federal and state levels. You can choose a quick estimate using the standard deduction or you can enter your specific itemized deductions.
In the table above, I have calculated the tax bill for a number of different income levels to highlight the differences in the structure of the individual income tax at the federal level, for a high-tax state (California), and for a low-tax state (Georgia).
Not surprisingly, Uncle Sam's individual income tax bill is the highest at every level of income (technically called Adjusted Gross Income). However, the amount that California and Georgia takes with their individual income tax is very different. At $50,000 in income, California's income tax bill is $788, but for Georgia the tax bill is 138 percent larger at $1,876. At $250,000 in income the picture is very different with California's income tax bill at $17,582, but for Georgia the tax bill is 21 percent smaller at $13,876.
The difference between the two states is due to structure of their respective tax system. California has a very progressive, or graduated, tax structure with tax rates ranging from 1 percent to 12.3 percent in 2013. Georgia, on the other hand, has tax rates starting at 1 percent, but topping out at a much lower 6 percent. This is why California's tax bill continues to grow faster with income. Here is a more in-depth discussion of how a progressive income tax works.
At any rate, I have added the tax calculator to the sidebar for your use--I hope you enjoy. However, keep in mind that your tax bill may not be reflective of the overall tax burden in your state since you may be facing a steeply progressive individual income tax or there may be many other types of taxes that you don't pay directly. As such, you will need to understand how tax burdens are calculated to get a true picture of your full tax burden.
J. Scott Moody has over 18 years 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 Federalism In Action, Tax Foundation, Heritage Foundation, and The Maine Heritage Policy Center.