Overview of Pennsylvania Taxes
Pennsylvania has a flat income tax rate that is the lowest of all eight states with this type of system. The statewide sales tax rate is 6%. Only two counties charge an additional sales tax above this rate. Pennsylvania has the highest state gas tax in the country.
Number of Personal Exemptions
|Tax Type||Marginal |
|Total Income Taxes|
|Income After Taxes|
Total Estimated Tax Burden $
Percent of income to taxes = %
Total Estimated Tax Burden$
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Jennifer Mansfield, CPA Tax
Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
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Pennsylvania state tax quick facts
The Keystone State receives tax revenue from two primary sources: a statewide income tax of 3.07% and a statewide sales tax of 6%. Those two state taxes are augmented by local taxes on real estate, sales and income. Many cities in Pennsylvania collect a Local Earned Income Tax which ranges from 1% to nearly 4%. In smaller municipalities, the Earned Income Tax is capped by state law at 2% but larger cities, including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, have higher rates.
Pennsylvania Income Tax
Pennsylvania utilizes a “flat tax” system. This means that every taxpayer in the state, regardless of their level of income, pays the same percentage of their taxable income in income taxes — 3.07%. Among the seven states with a flat income tax, that is the lowest rate.
That does not mean that taxpayers in Pennsylvania have lower tax bills, however. For starters, unlike many other states that collect an income tax, Pennsylvania has no standard deduction or exemption. Additionally, itemized deductions (which reduce your taxable income) are limited to just three categories: medical savings account contributions, health savings account contributions and 529 college savings plan contributions.
The net effect is that while Pennsylvania’s actual tax rate is lower than in many other states, its effective tax rate (the actual amount paid as a percentage of income) may be higher for many taxpayers. If you are looking to find some help on your taxes, consider hiring a tax professional or using tax preparation software like Credit Karma and TurboTax
Local Earned Income Tax
Municipalities in Pennsylvania can collect income taxes of their own, called a “Local Earned Income Tax.” While small cities collect a tax of no more than 2% — in many places, the rate is just 1% — larger cities can (and do) collect more. Below are the local earned income tax rates for Pennsylvania’s largest cities.
Pennsylvania Municipal Income Taxes
Pennsylvania Sales Tax
The statewide base sales tax rate in Pennsylvania is 6%. This is the rate charged in almost all of the state, with two exceptions. The first is Allegheny County (which includes the city of Pittsburgh), where there is an additional 1% sales tax. The other exception is in Philadelphia, where there is a local surcharge totaling 2%, meaning the total sales tax rate there is 8%.
Numerous items are excluded from sales taxes in Pennsylvania. Among the most commonly purchased items for which Pennsylvania residents pay no sales taxes are most groceries, clothing, footwear, textbooks, internet service, toilet paper, fitness club fees, most medicine and residential fuels including firewood, natural gas and electricity.
Pennsylvania Alcohol Tax
Alcoholic beverages are subject to additional excise taxes in Pennsylvania, although that tax is often included in the price. For liquor and wine the rate is 18% and for beer it is 8 cents per gallon.
Pennsylvania Property Tax
The average effective property tax rate in the state of Pennsylvania is 1.55%, but that varies greatly depending on where you live. (An effective property tax rate is total taxes paid as a percentage of market value.) In Philadelphia County, for example, the average rate is less than 1%. On the other hand, in Allegheny County, the rate is more than 2%.
Seniors, adults with disabilities and widows or widowers over age 50 may also be eligible for a property tax rebate of up to $975, depending on the city of residence and income level.
If you’re considering buying a property in Pennsylvania or are looking into refinancing a current home loan, our Pennsylvania mortgage rates guide lays out important information you’ll need to get started on the process of getting a mortgage.
Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax
Inheritance given to state residents is taxed depending on the relation of the deceased to the person receiving the inheritance. The tax is 4.5% for direct descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.), 12% for siblings and 15% for other heirs.
Pennsylvania Gas Tax
The gas tax in Pennsylvania is 59.3 cents per gallon. That is the highest state gas tax in the country.
Pennsylvania Small Games of Chance Tax
Games sold in taverns (like computerized black jack) are subject to a tax rate of 65% of net revenue earned by the game.
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Places with the Lowest Tax Burden
Are you curious how your tax burden stacks up against others in your state? SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the counties with the lowest tax burden. Scroll over any county in the state to learn about taxes in that specific area.
Where you live can have a big impact on both which types of taxes you have to pay each year and how much money you spend on them. SmartAsset calculated the amount of money a specific person would pay in income, sales, property and fuel taxes in each county in the country and ranked the lowest to highest tax burden.
To better compare income tax burdens across counties, we used the national median household income. We then applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes.
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 county by the household income less income tax. This product is then multiplied by 35% to estimate the sales tax paid.
For property taxes, we compared the median property taxes paid in each county.
For fuel taxes, we first distributed statewide vehicle miles traveled down to the county level using the number of vehicles in each county. We then calculated the total number of licensed drivers within each county. The countywide miles were then distributed amongst the licensed drivers in the county, which gave us the miles driven per licensed driver. Using the nationwide average fuel economy, we calculated the average gallons of gas used per driver in each county and multiplied that by the fuel tax.
We then added the dollar amount for income, sales, property and fuel taxes to rank the counties to calculate a total tax burden.