The 10 Most (and Least) Tax-Friendly States in America

iStock.com/Bill Oxford
iStock.com/Bill Oxford

Alaska, Wyoming, and South Dakota are the three states where taxes are lowest, according to a new analysis of tax rates that form the basis of a Yahoo! Finance infographic. The “State-by-State Guide to Taxes” comes from Kiplinger, a service that provides personal finance news and advice, and it demonstrates just how much taxes vary from state to state.

The types of taxes taken into account were those on income, property, sales, fuel, "sin" (alcohol, vapor, and tobacco products), inheritance and gifts, wireless, and travel. In creating the ranking, Kiplinger used a slew of data from the Tax Foundation, the U.S. Census American Community Survey, The American Petroleum Institute, and several other sources.

In addition to the three aforementioned Western/Midwestern states, three Southern states also fared well, tax-wise: Florida is the fourth most tax-friendly state, and Mississippi and Louisiana came in ninth and tenth, respectively.

If you’re looking to lessen your financial burden by moving somewhere with less aggressive tax rates, you’ll want to avoid the Northeast. Maryland, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, and Connecticut all made the top 10 for the most heavily taxed locales.

In addition to Yahoo!’s infographic, which breaks down the top 10 most and least tax-friendly states, Kiplinger also has an interactive map on its site that lets you click on an individual state’s profile for more information on various tax rates. The site also lists the states with no income tax (there are seven, plus two that only tax dividends and investment income) and the states with no sales tax (five in total).

Perhaps most importantly, if you want to know the states with the lowest beer taxes, Kiplinger has figured that out, too. (Beer lovers might want to head to Oregon, which not only has the most breweries per resident, but also some of the lowest beer taxes in the country.) And no matter where you're filing from, make sure you have the proper tools to do so, like Turbo Tax.

Keep scrolling to see the top 10 most and least tax-friendly states.

Most tax-friendly:

1. Alaska
2. Wyoming
3. South Dakota
4. Florida
5. Nevada
6. North Dakota
7. Delaware
8. Arizona
9. Mississippi
10. Louisiana

Least tax-friendly:

1. Minnesota
2. Maryland
3. New York
4. Illinois
5. Maine
6. Vermont
7. Hawaii
8. California
9. New Jersey
10. Connecticut

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[h/t Yahoo! Finance]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The U.S. Postal Service Is Struggling—Buying Stamps Can Help

Inclement weather doesn't stop them, but a lack of funding could.
Inclement weather doesn't stop them, but a lack of funding could.
Pope Moysuh, Unsplash

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, businesses have drastically reduced the number of advertisements and other marketing materials they’re sending to consumers—and since a considerable chunk of the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) revenue comes from those large mailings, the ongoing crisis has put the organization in a tough spot.

The importance of keeping the USPS afloat goes beyond simply wanting to preserve something that’s been around since the dawn of U.S. history. As Lifehacker explains, the institution delivers mail to every single household in the nation—be it by truck, boat, or even mule—which makes it a critical method of circulating necessary documents like paychecks and voting ballots. Without the USPS, it would be difficult to reach rural residents who might not have consistent phone or internet service.

So, how can we help? The USPS doesn’t get any taxpayer funds, relying instead on the sale of stamps and various shipping supplies. In other words, the best way to put money into the pockets of our postal guardians is to stock up on stamps.

There are dozens of different designs listed on USPS’s online store, which makes this charitable endeavor an especially fun one. You can, for example, decorate your envelope with Sally Ride, Scooby-Doo, or celebrated broadcast journalist Gwen Ifill. There are plenty of fruits and flowers to choose from, too, and even a lovely illustration of Walt Whitman, complete with a very thick mustache and a very piercing gaze. And we’d be remiss not to mention the existence of this mail carrier dog costume, which only costs $18.

An American hero.USPS.com

If you’d like to go the extra mile, you can also sign a petition to save the USPS by texting “USPS” to the number 50409. A chat program called Resistbot will walk you through the steps to add your name, and it’ll even send an automated message to your senators, letting them know you’ve signed the petition and support the continued operation of the USPS. You will have to enter your name, email address, and residential address, but the whole process takes about two minutes.

[h/t Lifehacker]