Kansas’ taxes on cars and homes among highest in nation, annual report finds

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I’m not a presidential candidate, so I don’t know much about tax shelters. I can only assume that you put your head between your knees and cover it tightly much like you do in a tornado shelter. No? Regardless, a new report shows Kansans may be inclined to that reaction when they get their property tax bills.

Kansas again has one of the highest property taxes in the country for vehicles, according to a new report by the financial website WalletHub. Property taxes on homes also are above average, according to the report.

Let’s start with vehicles. Only 27 states charge any property tax on vehicles. The WalletHub report found that Kansas, on average, has the 9th highest property tax rate for vehicles in the country.

On average, a Kansas vehicle owner pays $502 in property taxes on a $25,000 vehicle. I highlight the phrase “on average” because the actual amount you pay in property taxes varies from county to county, as there is both a state component and a local component involved in the total property tax rate. WalletHub uses updated Census data on property taxes to figure a statewide average that is weighted toward the rates paid in urban areas of a state.

The good news for Kansas is that we aren’t the highest in the region. Missouri takes that spot, and by quite a bit. Here’s a look at average tax payments on a $25,000 vehicle in Kansas and nearby states:

• Missouri: $623

• Kansas: $502

• Colorado: $446

• Nebraska: $382

• Arkansas: $252

• Iowa: $250

• Oklahoma: $0

Kansas fares a little better when it comes to property taxes on homes. The state has the 15th highest property tax rate on homes, according to WalletHub, which again used updated Census data on property taxes to create this ranking. Like the vehicle report, this one also reports an average, as actual property taxes vary from county to county and city to city in Kansas.

There are a couple of different ways to slice and dice these numbers. First, WalletHub looks at what a homeowner would pay in property taxes on a typical $204,900 home, which was the national median home price in 2018. Those numbers look like this for Kansas and area states:

• Nebraska: $3,634

• Iowa: $3,195

• Kansas: $2,882

• Missouri: $1,987

• Oklahoma: $1,842

• Arkansas: $1,290

• Colorado: $1,076

But, a national median home price doesn’t mean much, given that home prices vary widely across the country. WalletHub, however, also has looked at the statewide median average for homes, and calculated what the taxes look like on that property owner. Here’s a rundown of those numbers for area states, with the first number being the median home price and the second being the average property taxes paid on that home.

• Nebraska: $147,800 value; $2,621 taxes

• Iowa: $142,300 value; $2,219 taxes

• Kansas: $145,400 value; $2,045 taxes

• Colorado: $313,600 value; $1,647 taxes

• Missouri: $151,600 value; $1,470 taxes

• Oklahoma: $130,900 value; $1,177 taxes

• Arkansas: $123,300 value; $776 taxes

As you can see, the order of the list changed a bit, but Kansas is still the third highest in the region, no matter which way you look at it. But Colorado doesn’t look like quite as good a deal when you consider the average home prices in that state, while Arkansas looks better. I always thought the difference between a Rocky Mountain view and an Ozark Mountain view mainly was a hillbilly with a banjo, but evidently it is nearly a thousand dollars in taxes, as well.

Arkansas is one of six states where the average property taxes on an average home is less than $1,000. All of them are in the south, and Alabama is the lowest at $572. The others are Louisiana, West Virginia, South Carolina and Mississippi.

The state with the lowest average property tax rate is Hawaii. You would pay $560 on a $205,000 home. But, yes, even the sand castles on Waikiki go for more than $200,000. The average home price in Hawaii is a little more than $585,000. Taxes on that home would run about $1,600 — or about $400 less than the average home in Kansas. (Yes, that is particularly cruel to point out in the dead of winter.)

But, it is worth reminding you that this is only a snapshot of a state’s tax environment. You don’t find many people moving to Hawaii because it is a cheap place to live. While some states make a big part of their money through property taxes, others make it through income and sales taxes. This report doesn’t attempt to paint that type of picture. But if you hate property taxes, this report is useful.

This last part wasn’t done by WalletHub, but my abacus got its annual lube job, so I decided to do the extra math. I’ve added up what a person pays in property taxes on the average $25,000 car and the average-priced home for their state. Here’s a look at what Joe or Jane Average pays in each area state:

• Nebraska: $3,003

• Kansas: $2,547

• Iowa: $2,469

• Missouri: $2,093

• Colorado: $2,093

• Oklahoma: $1,177

• Arkansas: $1,028


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