Rhode Island provides no special income tax exemptions or deductions for retirement income. Social Security retirement benefits are taxable, so long as they are also taxed federally. Rhode Island has high property taxes and is one of the few states to collect its own estate tax.
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Annual Social Security Income
Annual Retirement Account Income
Year of Birth
Annual Income from Private Pension
Annual Income from Public Pension
|is toward retirees.|
|Social Security income is taxed.|
|Withdrawals from retirement accounts are taxed.|
|Wages are taxed at normal rates, and your marginal state tax rate is %.|
- Our Retirement Expert
Jim Barnash, CFP Retirement
Jim Barnash is a Certified Financial Planner with more than four decades of experience. SmartAsset’s retirement expert is passionate about helping both individuals and business owners prepare for retirement. Jim has run his own advisory firm, worked for large financial services companies and even acted as a consultant to help other advisors grow their businesses. He is an author and public speaker on a variety of financial topics. Jim previously served for six years as President and Chairman for the Financial Planning Association. He also instructs others about the topic – Jim has created and taught courses on financial planning at DePaul University and William Rainey Harper Community College.
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Rhode Island Retirement Taxes
Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S. with a land area of just 1,045 miles (less than 0.03% of the country’s total land area). Much of that is located on or near the ocean, in close proximity to fantastic sightseeing, sailing, kayaking and fishing.
Those are all great reasons to consider a Rhode Island retirement, but the Ocean State’s retirement taxes might be cause to think twice. Why? Unlike most other states, Rhode Island provides no special income tax exemptions or deductions for retirement income. Even Social Security retirement benefits are taxable, so long as they are also taxed federally.
On top of that, Rhode Island has property taxes that rank among the highest of any state. It is also one of the few states to collect its own estate tax. Below, we will take a closer look at these and other important Rhode Island retirement tax rules.
Is Rhode Island tax-friendly for retirees?
No. Rhode Island taxes all retirement income at rates ranging from 3.75% to 5.99%. It is one of the few states to tax Social Security retirement benefits, though it only taxes Social Security income that is taxed at the federal level.
The Ocean State has sales tax rates that are slightly higher than the national average. It has an average effective property tax rate of 1.65%. This is 11th highest in the country. Those taxes contribute to a cost of living that is 21% higher than the national average.
Is Social Security taxable in Rhode Island?
Yes. Any Social Security retirement benefits that are subject to federal taxes will also be subject to the Rhode Island state income tax.
In general, Social Security retirement benefits may be taxed at the federal level if they are combined with other sources of income and that amount exceeds a certain amount. The IRS advises that if half of your Social Security income combined with all other income exceeds $25,000 (for all filing statuses except joint filers) or $32,000 (for joint filers), you may pay taxes on Social Security.
Are other forms of retirement income taxable in Rhode Island?
Yes. All other retirement income in Rhode Island is subject to the state income tax. This includes income from retirement accounts like an IRA or a 401(k). It also includes income from a government pension or a private pension.
Income from any of those sources is combined with all other income, including work income, and taxed at the rates shown in the bracket table below (after applying other deductions and exemptions).
Income Tax Brackets
|Rhode Island Taxable Income||Rate|
|$0 - $61,300||3.75%|
|$61,300 - $139,400||4.75%|
How high are property taxes in Rhode Island?
Property taxes and property tax rates in Rhode Island are quite high. The state’s average effective property tax rate is 1.65%, 11th highest of any state. Those high rates are compounded by high property values in Rhode Island. A typical Rhode Island homeowner pays over $3,900 annually in property taxes. Including property taxes, housing costs in Rhode Island are 21% higher than the national average.
What is the Rhode Island property tax relief credit?
Senior homeowners in Rhode Island may be able to claim a credit to reduce their overall property tax bill. To be eligible for the credit, you must be at least 65 years old and have household income no greater than $30,000. In 2017, the maximum credit was $350.
There are other property tax relief programs available in some cities in Rhode Island. For example, in the city of Providence, anyone who is at least 65 (or anyone who is at least 62 and currently receiving Social Security retirement benefits) can claim an exemption of up to $ 27,181. Owner-occupied properties in Providence also face a lower tax rate. It is $18.80 per $1,000 in taxable value as opposed to $31.96 for other properties.
How high are sales taxes in Rhode Island?
There is a single statewide sales tax rate in Rhode Island of 7%. Cities and counties do not charge their own sales taxes, so that is the only rate you will pay.
That rate is slightly higher than the national average sales tax rate, but Rhode Island exempts several types of products that are especially important to seniors living on a fixed budget. The state exempts most kinds of groceries from its sales tax, as well as all prescription drugs and medical equipment.
What other Rhode Island taxes should I be concerned about?
The Rhode Island estate tax is more stringent than the federal estate tax, so even if your estate is not subject to the federal tax it may be affected by the Rhode Island tax. Specifically, the Rhode Island estate tax has an exemption of about $1.5 million, while the federal exemption is $11.2 million for 2018.
The Rhode Island estate tax has rates that range from 0.8% up to 16%. As the value of your estate increases, so does the tax rate. The top rate of 16% applies to the portion of any estate greater than $10.04 million in value.
Most Tax Friendly Places for Retirees
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places in the country with tax policies that are most favorable to retirees. Zoom between states and the national map to see the most tax-friendly places in each area of the country.
Methodology Our study aims to find the areas with the most tax-friendly policies for retirees. To do that we looked at how the tax policies of each city would impact a retiree with a $50,000 income. Our hypothetical retiree is getting $15,000 from Social Security benefits, $10,000 from a private pension, $15,000 from retirement savings like a 401(k) or IRA and $10,000 in wages.
To calculate the expected income tax this person would pay in each location we applied deductions and exemptions. This included the standard deduction, personal exemption and deductions for each specific type of retirement income. We then calculated how much this person would pay in income tax at the federal, state, county and local levels.
We calculated the effective property tax rate by dividing median property tax paid by median home value for each city.
In order to determine sales tax burden we estimated that 35% of take-home (after-tax) pay is spent on taxable goods. We multiplied the average sales tax rate for a city by the household income less income tax. This product is then multiplied by 35% to estimate the sales tax paid.
For fuel taxes, we first distributed statewide vehicle miles traveled down to the city level using the number of vehicles in each county. We then calculated miles driven per capita in each city. Using the nationwide average fuel economy, we calculated the average gallons of gas used per capita in each city and multiplied that by the fuel tax.
For each city we determined whether or not Social Security income was taxable.
Finally, we created an overall index weighted to best capture the taxes that most affect retirees. We gave a 4x weighting to income tax, 3x weighting to property tax rate, a 2x weighting to sales tax and 1x weighting to fuel tax.
Sources: Internal Revenue Service, Social Security Administration, state websites, local government websites, US Census Bureau 2016 American Community Survey, Avalara, American Petroleum Institute, GasBuddy, UMTRI, Federal Highway Administration