Final jeopardy: The category is taxes

There is good news and bad news about the 2016 tax filing deadline:

  • The good news is that this year folks have until April 18 to file. So you have more time to round up those pesky forms, checks, deductions and other items needed to make the deadline.
  • The bad news is it’s April 6. Already. Which, worst-case scenario, means one, maybe two nightmare weekends. So as a helpful (we hope) diversion, here’s a little quiz that could be of some help filing your 2015 returns and helping you decide whether you might change your area code when you decide to retire.

Now to the taxing questions: If you are retired from the federal government, which of the following states DO NOT tax your civil service annuity?  Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, North Dakota and Pennsylvania?

Next question: Which states do not have personal income taxes? Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming?

Which states DO NOT have a state sales tax? Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah?

Which state or states have the highest sales tax? Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Montana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, California, Virginia and West Virginia?

As yesterday’s column pointed out, the big three issues for folks contemplating retirement are children, weather and taxes. Not necessarily in that order. Do you want to stay close to your children, their children and long-time friends? Are you sick of shoveling snow, and dealing with weather-driven traffic jams? With your income likely to drop, what’s the tax deal in your state vs. those with a better climate or lower cost of living?

Today at 10 a.m., Bob Leins, host of the For Your Benefit show, which airs Mondays here on Federal News Radio, will be our guest. The subject is taxes. Your taxes. He’s a nationally known CPA and founder of the National Institute of Transition Planning. NITP has provided pre-retirement counseling to feds for decades. One of its star attractions, Tammy Flanagan, writes a regular column for Government Executive. Today Bob will talk about what people are doing for this tax filing season and should be doing in the future. If you have questions you can call in during showtime at 202-465-3080 or email them to me this morning at:

About the quiz. Here are the answers:

Which states do not tax your civil service annuity? Answer: Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York and Pennsylvania.

Which states have no personal income taxes? Answer: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

Which states do not have a state sales tax? Answer: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon.

Which states have the highest sales taxes? Answer: Minnesota and Nevada (6.8 percent) and Mississippi, Rhode Island, Indiana and New Jersey (7 percent) and California at 7.5 percent.

All of the numbers come from the April issue of NARFE magazine ( and its special tax issue. If you are a NARFE member, be sure to check it out. If you are not a NARFE member, check that out.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

Over the last 100 years, James was the most popular given name for males in the U.S., with Mary holding the same distinction for females.

Source: Social Security Administration