Yes, we have the majestic beauty of the Smoky Mountains, the four mild but distinct seasons, the low crime, and the wealth of economic opportunity here but these aren’t all the reasons that our area continues to attract a large number of new residents. Many people actually move to Tennessee and particularly to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville (Sevier County) area because of our very low taxes. Consider these facts:
Tennessee, Sevier County, and the cities of our area including Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Seymour all have something in common – None of these government entities impose a tax on earned income. Yes, Tennessee does have the Hall Tax which does tax some specific types of investment income but that can fairly easily be avoided by not choosing to invest in out of state CD’s, out of state bonds and bond funds, etc.
Our real estate taxes in Sevier County are incredibly low. A typical $100,000 residence will have less than $500 in total annual taxes, even if it is in the city and therefore has both city and county taxes. Compare that to many communities with real estate taxes that are many times that level!
We do have a fairly onerous sales tax (nearly 10% on almost every purchase!) but the beauty of this is that visitors to our Smoky Mountain area will pay this tax on everything they purchase. Visitors to our area will never pay property taxes or income taxes and the sales tax that they DO pay helps keep our property taxes low and the income tax basically non-existent. Residents of other communities have so many taxes that I have lost count. I did hear of two new taxes this week that blew me away:
Some communities in New Hampshire (and possibly other states) have imposed a “View Tax” that is charged to owners of real estate that offer particularly attractive views of the countryside. Some communities have what is called a “Driveway Tax” that is imposed on businesses (and even churches) based on their building’s seating capacity. If either of these are ever proposed here, there will be hell to pay for our legislature. A few years back, the legislature started consideration of a statewide income tax on earned income. Residents drove in circles around the capitol building in Nashville, Tennessee honking their horns until the legislature came to its senses and abandoned that bad idea. One can only imagine what would happen if someone proposed a View or Driveway Tax here…
It’s our low taxes that DO help to attract new residents and hopefully this won’t ever change. The sad thing is that the communities around our country with the highest tax burdens often have huge deficits and are looking for even more ways to tax their residents even more. Governments can always spend more than they have, regardless of how much they are already getting. If you are tired of paying so much in tax, consider moving to Tennessee where we have it made in the shade!!