How are state, county and local municipality tax law structured?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Most states that have income, estate and gift taxes pattern these taxes after the federal tax system – if it is taxable under the federal system, it is taxable under the state system – likewise the exemptions, exclusions, and credits found in the federal system are found in the state system. While the pattern may be the same, the particular tax laws are often somewhat different so that what is taxable under the federal system is not necessarily taxable by the state and vice-versa.

Most county and local municipalities taxes are based upon ownership of real property, local sales taxes, and local personal property or use taxes. County and local municipality taxes are established at the local level and thus often do not pattern federal or state taxes, however, these taxes must comply with both federal and state law in order to be enforceable (collectable).

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