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Breaking Down the 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index: Key Insights for Business Owners

The 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index from the Tax Foundation deeply evaluates the competitiveness of tax systems in all 50 U.S. states. It meticulously considers over 120 variables across five key areas: corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, and property taxes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Top 10 States: Leading the 2024 Index are Wyoming, South Dakota, and Alaska, distinguishing themselves by minimizing major taxes.

  • Bottom 10 States: States like Rhode Island and California face challenges from complex, high-rate taxes.

  • 2024 Changes: Tax reforms have positively impacted rankings, enhancing the business tax climate.

Literature Review:

  • Taxes influence individual and business decisions. Recent studies highlight their substantial impact on business location choices.

  • Corporate taxes, property taxes, and relative tax burdens are particularly influential.


  • The Index uses a nuanced approach, assessing tax rates and bases, with components weighted based on variability.

  • A total of 125 variables are categorized into scalar and dummy variables within the subindices.

Additional Details:

  • Relative scoring offers valuable insights for businesses seeking optimal tax systems.

  • The Index effectively addresses challenges in comparing states with and without specific taxes.

  • Normalization ensures equal weight for all components, enabling meaningful state comparisons.

  • The Index reflects tax climates as of July 1, 2023.

  • The District of Columbia is included as an exhibit, without affecting other states' scores.

  • Rankings from 2014 to 2023 provide context for the 2024 results.

Corporate Tax Component:

  • Accounts for 20.9% of a state’s total score.

  • Assesses top tax rate, bracket structure, and gross receipts rate relative to other states.

  • Evaluates the application of multiple-rate systems, focusing on simplicity and neutrality.

  • Measures the economic impact of a state's corporate tax base.

  • Evaluate Alternative Minimum Tax.

The 2024 State Business Tax Climate Index offers a comprehensive view of state tax systems' competitiveness, informed by economic literature. It's evident that these systems significantly impact business location decisions and overall economic growth. In a competitive era, understanding tax systems is crucial for attracting businesses and talent.

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