The Palmetto State may be known of its warm, sunny skies, but a new study gives the state’s overall tax structure a somewhat frosty review.
South Carolina was ranked No. 37 by the Tax Foundation in its 2018 State Business Tax Climate Index, an annual report that measures how well each state’s tax code is structured, analyzing over 100 variables in five categories: corporate, individual income, sales, property and unemployment insurance.
States with complex tax codes that distort business decisions do poorly, while states with transparent, neutral codes score well, the agency said.
Of all the major metrics, South Carolina fared best on corporate tax structure at No. 15. Its property tax system was ranked 24th.
The state's unemployment insurance tax structure came in at No. 29 while its sales tax system was rated 32nd.
South Carolina ranked poorest on its individual income tax makeup, coming in at No. 41. The report pointed out the index ranked states on their tax structure, not their tax burden.
“While the amount of revenue a state raises gets a lot of attention, it doesn’t tell the whole story about a state’s tax system,” said Jared Walczak, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation and one of the lead authors of the study.
“The goal of the index is to start a conversation between taxpayers and legislators about how their tax system compares with other states, and provide a road map for improvement," Walczak said.
Some states — such as Indiana, North Carolina and Washington, D.C. — have in recent years adopted reforms that boosted their scores on the index.
Wyoming scored the top spot while New Jersey took the honor of being number 50.