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How to Design Your Retirement Portfolio in Arizona? Thumbnail

How to Design Your Retirement Portfolio in Arizona?

Arizona is a well-known destination for retirees. If you are retiring in Arizona or are considering retiring to Arizona, here's what you need to know about the state's taxes on retirees. 

Retirees in Arizona can enjoy a relatively low tax burden. Social Security retirement benefits are not taxed at the state level, which can be the case in most U.S. states. At the federal level, your Social Security may still be taxed. Other types of income received during retirement are taxable in Arizona, either partially or fully. This includes money distributed from a 401(k) or IRA account, which is considered regular income. Pension income may also be eligible for a deduction. Additionally, while property taxes tend to be low, sales taxes are high. The property tax rate average is 0.62%. The average state and local sales tax rate is 8.4%. 

When you're making retirement plans, it's important to consider the tax implications. Although Arizona has low taxes for retirees overall, understanding the specific rules can help you design your retirement portfolio with confidence and ensure a comfortable future. With the right information and planning, you can enjoy your golden years in sunny Arizona without worrying about hefty taxes.


How will my Retirement Income be Taxed in Arizona?

If you're planning to retire in Arizona, you'll need to factor in the state's income taxes. Retirement savings accounts like 403(b)s and 401(k)s are taxed in the same way as regular income, so you'll need to add up all of your retirement income sources to determine your tax rate. Tax rates for individuals in Arizona range from 2.59% to 4.50%, so it's important to plan. All income from pensions is taxed as regular income, with a few exceptions. U.S. government civil service pensioners and those receiving state or local pensions from Arizona may deduct $2,500 annually from their taxes, but private pensioners and those receiving pensions from states other than Arizona are not eligible for this deduction. 

A fee-only financial planner can help you to design a retirement portfolio that works for you in Arizona by considering the state's income tax rules. Together, you can make sure that your retirement portfolio is optimized for your individual situation so that you get the most out of it in the years to come. 


What to do if You're Retired and Own a Home in Arizona

Homeowners in Arizona get a good deal when it comes to property taxes. The median annual tax bill is only $1,578, which is around $1,000 less than the national average. Therefore, housing costs are more affordable in Arizona too.

If you're retired and own a home in Arizona, you may be able to take advantage of the property valuation freeze. This is a program that freezes the value of your home for tax purposes, so your annual property taxes can't increase. To qualify:


  • Your income must be below $40,368 (or $50,460 per person if there are two or more owners). 
  • The home must be where the owner(s) primarily reside, and they must have lived there for at least 2 years.


There are even more options for those over 70 and who meet certain criteria. If you've resided in your primary home for 6 years or Arizona for 10 years combined, with a taxable income no more than $10,000 (for all residents of the house), you can completely postpone your property taxes until the house is sold. It is worth noting that on average, the total sales tax is 8.4%. This is composed of the state sales tax rate of 5.6%, which is typical, as well as an additional local sales tax rate that averages 2.8%.

These programs make it easier to design your retirement portfolio with Arizona income tax in mind. By taking advantage of the property valuation freeze and other programs, you can reduce your overall tax burden and maximize your savings as you plan for retirement. While it’s not normal to have an income in that range, it will work for some!

 If you're unsure whether you qualify for these programs, it's best to speak with a fee-only tax advisor who can provide tailored advice for your situation. With the right guidance and planning, you can create a retirement portfolio that will help you reach your financial goals in retirement, all while taking advantage of the favorable tax laws in Arizona.


Other Arizona Taxes to Take into Consideration

When it comes to retirement planning, it's important to consider all of the different taxes that will apply. 

Food is generally a big expense for seniors, but in Arizona, the state government exempts groceries from sales tax. This includes prescription drugs. Additionally, estate tax and inheritance tax do not exist in Arizona - so if retirees want to leave some of their possessions or money to family members upon their death, they don't have anything additional to stress about. 

Another consideration in your retirement portfolio is the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. The Arizona Charitable Tax Credit allows you to give money to causes you're passionate about whilst also reducing the amount of taxes you owe. We have discussed the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit in detail in another piece.

By factoring in taxes, retirees can plan their retirement portfolio in a way that minimizes their overall tax burden. An Arizona fee-only financial advisor can assist you in developing a comprehensive tax focused, financial plan that accounts for all your long-term needs, including taxes, homeownership, insurance, healthcare planning and estate planning. In this way, you can ensure that your retirement years are as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.