Virginia has the Ninth Lowest Tax Burden in the Nation for 2015

Jul 25, 2017

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, Virginia collected $36.9 billion in state and local taxes. While this is an impressive sum of money, it tells us little about whether or not the average Virginia taxpayer can afford this level of taxation.



Click here to view tax burden data by state, type of tax, and for years 1950 to 2015


As shown in Chart 1, Virginia’s state and local tax burden (tax collections divided by private sector personal income) was the ninth lowest in the nation for FY 2015 at 12.4 percent—or -14 percent below the national average of 14.4 percent.


Chart 1 Virginia State and Local Tax Burden FY 2015.jpg


#VA #taxburden in FY 2015 was the 9th lowest in the nation at 12.4%— -14% below national average @keypolicydata #VAgov (click to tweet)


As shown in Chart 2, Virginia’s tax burden has increased over time by 46 percent to 12.4 percent in FY 2015 from 8.5 percent in FY 1950.


Chart 2 Virginia Tax Burden by Type of Tax FY 1950 to 2015.JPG


#VA #taxburden has increased 46% between FY 1950 to 2015 to 12.4% from 8.5% @keypolicydata #VAgov (click to tweet)


Click here to view tax burden data by state, type of tax, and for years 1950 to 2015


As shown in Chart 3, Virginia’s 12.4 percent tax burden is greater than these combined industries: manufacturing (6 percent), construction (5.5 percent), and utilities (0.5 percent).


Chart 3 Virginia State and Local Tax Burden vs. Major Industry FY 2015.JPG


#VA #taxburden > combined industries: manufacturing, construction, and utilities @keypolicydata #VAgov (click to tweet)


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 Virginia—this includes every taxing jurisdiction within the geographic county borders whether it is a city, a special district, or county government itself.



The Virginia counties/cities with the highest local government tax burden include:


  • Norfolk, VA (142.3 percent)
  • Prince George, VA (54.7 percent)
  • Portsmouth, VA (40.9 percent)
  • Buchanan County, VA (15 percent)
  • Surry County, VA (13.2 percent)
  • Wise County, VA (11.8 percent)
  • Dickenson County, VA (11 percent)
  • Hampton, VA (10.6 percent)
  • King George County, VA (10 percent)
  • Bath County, VA (9.8 percent)


The Virginia counties/cities with the lowest local government tax burden include:


  • Amelia County, VA (2.4 percent)
  • Goochland County, VA (2.6 percent)
  • Bedford County, VA (3.2 percent)
  • New Kent County, VA (3.3 percent)
  • Craig County, VA (3.5 percent)
  • Botetourt County, VA (3.5 percent)
  • Henrico County, VA (3.5 percent)
  • Floyd County, VA (3.6 percent)
  • Clarke County, VA (3.6 percent)
  • Greene County, VA (3.8 percent)


Note: The Bureau of Economic Analysis treats the larger independent cities as county-equivalents and merges smaller independent cities with the surrounding county. Due to Virginia’s unique classification challenges, we are unable to generate a county tax burden map.


Note: The tax burdens for counties (or independent cities) with large military bases, such as Norfolk and Prince George County, are inflated because, by definition, military compensation is excluded from the denominator as it does not constitute private sector activity.


Additionally, military activity often physically crowds-out the private sector pushing it out into surrounding areas. While a significant portion of surrounding private sector activity is due to the presence of the base, it is counted in the counties where the business is physically located. Thus, the tax burden, as a percent of private sector personal income, is overstated in counties with military bases and understated in surrounding counties.


Click here to view tax burden data by state, type of tax, and for years 1950 to 2015



Finally, don’t forget to watch our exclusive time-lapse video of state and local tax burdens over the last 65 years! See if your state has been above or below the national average?



Category: Tax Burdens

J. Scott Moody

Scott has nearly 20 years of experience as a public policy economist. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 180 studies and books. His professional experience also includes positions at the American Conservative Union Foundation, Granite Institute, Federalism In Action, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tax Foundation, and Heritage Foundation.

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