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]

Friday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Digital Projectors, Ugly Christmas Sweaters, and Speakers

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 4. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

Google Is Tracking Everything You Do With Its ‘Smart’ Features—Here’s How to Make That Stop

Maybe you don't want Google seeing how many exclamation points you use in your emails.
Maybe you don't want Google seeing how many exclamation points you use in your emails.
Taryn Elliott, Pexels

Since we don’t all have personal assistants to draft emails and update our calendars, Google has tried to fill the void with ‘smart’ features across Gmail, Google Chat, and Google Meet. These automatic processes cover everything from email filtering and predictive text to notifications about upcoming bills and travel itineraries. But such personalized assistance requires a certain amount of personal data.

For example, to suggest email replies that match what you’d choose to write on your own—or remind you about important emails you’ve yet to reply to—Google needs to know quite a bit about how you write and what you consider important. And that involves tracking your actions when using Google services.

For some people, Google’s helpful hints might save enough time and energy to justify giving up full privacy. If you’re not one of them, here’s how to disable the ‘smart’ features.

As Simplemost explains, first open Gmail and click the gear icon (settings) in the upper right corner of the page. Select ‘See all settings,’ which should default to the ‘General’ tab. Next to ‘Smart Compose,’ ‘Smart Compose personalization,’ and ‘Smart Reply,’ choose the ‘Off’ options. Next to ‘Nudges,’ uncheck both boxes (which will stop suggestions about what emails you should answer or follow up on). Then, switch from the ‘General’ tab to ‘Inbox’ and scroll down to ‘Importance markers.’ Choose ‘No markers’ and ‘Don’t use my past actions to predict which messages are important.’

Seeing these settings might make you wonder what other information you’ve unwittingly given Google access to. Fortunately, there’s a pretty easy way to customize it. If you open the ‘Accounts’ tab (beside ‘Inbox’) and choose ‘Google Account settings,’ there’s an option to ‘Take the Privacy Checkup.’ That service will walk you through all the privacy settings, including activity tracking on Google sites, ad personalization, and more.

[h/t Simplemost]