Sales taxes in Arizona have mostly stabilized, though at high rates

The Arizona Republic
Sunday, September 9, 2018
Russ Wiles
Sales taxes in Arizona are relatively high, with the average combined tax rate here ranking 11th in one national measure.

But at least the trend in recent years has been one of stability.

Arizona's combined average sales-tax rate of 8.33 percent ranked 11th highest in a study earlier this year by the Tax Foundation, a research group. Louisiana leads the nation in this measure, with an average rate of 10.02 percent, followed by Tennessee and Arkansas, both above 9 percent.

Five states — Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon — have no state-level sales taxes.

The Tax Foundation study weighted sales taxes by the population in various locations, meaning the rates in urban centers would count more than those in towns and rural areas. Combined sales taxes include those levied by cities, counties and states.

Combined sales taxes in Arizona range from below 8 percent to above 11 percent, depending on the city or town. It's probably no coincidence that most rates hover a bit below 10 percent.

"When it comes to sales taxes, a lot of people don't know how much they're paying" in a particular area, said Kevin McCarthy, president of the Arizona Tax Research Association. But when combined rates near 10 percent, local taxpayers tend to become more sensitive, making it harder for politicians to raise rates further, he said.