Report: DC Residents Pay Lowest Taxes In The Region

by Mark Wellborn

Greater Greater Washington recently analyzed a report from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute that found that DC residents (and Virginians without cars) pay some of the lowest taxes in the region.

The report totaled the income, property and car taxes for three separate (and hypothetical) groups — renters earning $50,000 a year, homeowners with $100,000 in annual income and homeowners earning $200,000 a year. (The study analyzed singles and married couples with no children and with two children.) The study did not, however, include sales or income tax in its methodology.

From GGW:

In almost all scenarios, DC’s tax burden is the lowest. The major exception is single households without or with children, where taxes are lower in Virginia. For married couples, Virginia’s taxes rise above DC’s mostly due to the car tax. A separate DC CFO analysis also studied homeowners earning $50,000, and also found lower taxes in DC than in Maryland and Virginia.

DC also fared well when property taxes alone were considered. The study (which has sparked some criticism in the comments section of the Greater Greater Washington post) compared property taxes for $500,000 and $700,000 residences in DC and the close in Maryland and Virginia counties for households earning $100,000 and $200,000 a year. As the table below indicates, DC residents come out paying the least in property taxes (although that is fairly common knowledge in the area).

Table from DCFPI

To read the full study (and decide for yourself how accurate its methodology is), click here.

See other articles related to: taxes, greater greater washington

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/report_dc_taxes_arent_that_bad/3040


  1. DC Resident said at 11:28 pm on Tuesday February 22, 2011:

    Two things: In order for an accurate comparison, one should consider income taxes and sales taxes (not to mention the unofficial parking-ticket taxes we endure).

    On the bright side, I believe DC’s tax incentives for DC home ownership has been a hugely successful part of DC’s redevelopment to date. Let’s keep up the good work!

  1. ken rub said at 1:46 am on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    As a real estate agent who focuses on DC condos, there is a huge mis-perception that DC taxes are much higher than Virginia and Maryland.  It is good to see some data that we compare favorably to the surrounding jurisdictions!

  1. anon said at 10:16 am on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    this is not accurate. We have to conisder all form of taxation. Including sales and alcohol taxes.

  1. Jess H said at 10:43 am on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    While all taxes should be considered, the difference in $8K in PG and $2K in DC will not be met in other taxes. That’s a $6K spread! Wow. You’d need to lose a lot in sales tax (DC has 5.75% on goods and exempts groceries from sales tax) to spend more than $6K a year more in DC. (http://www.bankrate.com/brm/itax/edit/state/profiles/state_tax_DC.asp)

  1. Kim said at 11:01 am on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    Considering sales tax is also inaccurate because most people don’t shop exclusively within the jurisdiction in which they live. When I lived in Northern Virginia I shopped in Georgetown sometimes. Now that I live in D.C. I sometimes shop at Pentagon City. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  1. L said at 11:45 am on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    On the other hand, if you live in PG County you probably don’t have a $500,000 house. Or if you do, it’s MUCH nicer than a $500,000 house in the District. So your higher taxes are offset by lower mortgage payments.

  1. Mike said at 12:46 pm on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    This study is pretty brutal.  They started with a study comparing tax burdens, yet differing home values.  It’s fundamental to start a comparison study with the same baseline.  But obviously, home values in the area vary widely.

    This study would have been more useful if it compared 50k, 100k, 200k renters, and then 50k, 100k, 200k homeowners using the same home values.

    And I’ve run the DC vs. VA for my situation before, and know I save thousands by living in VA.

  1. adam said at 3:42 pm on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    How the DC ‘private education tax’?  That is, after forking over tens of thousands in property and income taxes to fund public schools, I can’t actually send my kids there because they are so horrible.  Instead, I have fork over tens of thousands more to pay tuition.  Sorry, but any discussion of tax burden also has to include a discussion of what you get in return.  In DC, that’s pretty much nothing.

  1. Marc said at 3:46 pm on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    What is up with that chart at the end of the article?  Why are they not comparing the same value homes in each area for someone making $100,000 or $200,000?  Why is PG county shown with a house worth $500,000 for both $100K and $200K earners, while DC has a $500K house for $100K earner and $700K for $200K earner.  And why does Arlington have a $600K house while all the other areas have $500K houses for $100K earners?  The way the chart is shown does not allow for meaningful interpretation.

  1. VA resident said at 6:15 pm on Wednesday February 23, 2011:

    They’ve tried to make this argument over at the Greater Greater Washington blog for a long time, but it is fundamentally flawed.  They compare the jurisdictions using different assumptions and produce one result, but the realty is that there is a massive difference between the DC and VA income taxes.  High-income earners will pay significantly less in taxes by living in VA.

  1. DCster said at 2:43 pm on Friday February 25, 2011:

    This study did actually include income taxes:
    “It includes the major taxes that households pay based on where they live – income and property taxes, including the annual tax on cars in Virginia.” 
    As for sales tax, it would be difficult to compare due to the varying types of sales taxes (clothes vs. restaurants vs. groceries).

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾