Low-income Washingtonians continued to pay less in local taxes than poor residents elsewhere in the metropolitan area last year, while affluent District residents had a higher local tax burden than their suburban counterparts, the D.C. Department of Finance and Revenue reports.
In its annual report on comparative tax burdens in the region, the department said a typical home-owning Washington family of four earning $10,000 would pay $714 in District of Columbia taxes, lowest among 11 political jurisdictions in the region, while a family of the same size earning $75,000 would pay $8,217, tops in the region.
The District, combining both state and local functions, collects taxes comparable to those normally levied elsewhere by both levels of government. Taxes in Maryland and Virginia are collected at state, county and sometimes also at municipal levels.
The new report continues a longtime pattern, with the District's tax burden on low-income people in 1982 the lowest and its burden on high-income people the highest.
For a four-member family in the $35,000 bracket, which comes as close as the study shows to to a typical wage-earning family, the District tax bill would be $3,396, third in the region behind Montgomery County ($3,567) and Alexandria ($3,509). The lowest taxes would be collected in Fairfax City ($2,804).
The biggest difference, as income rises, is in the income tax rates, which increase more progressively in the District. The rates top out at lower levels in the suburbs.
According to the department's tally, a $10,000-income family would pay 1.75 percent of its income in income taxes in Virginia, 2.7 percent in the District and 3.23 percent in Maryland. At the $35,000 level, the figures would rise to 3.58 percent in Virginia, 5.06 percent in Maryland and 5.58 percent in the District. At $75,000, the District rate would be tops at 6.92 percent, trailed by 5.31 percent in Maryland and 3.93 percent in Virginia.
Other taxes included in the computation are for sales, real estate and automobiles, including gasoline. Average taxes for people in various income brackets (including assumptions about the values of their homes and cars) are factored into the computations.
The District tax bills in the $35,000 income bracket would include $1,950 for income taxes, $958 for real estate, $360 for sales taxes and $128 for automobile taxes.
The assessed values of homes owned by residents in the 11 jurisdictions are a major variable in the amount of taxes paid.
For example, it is assumed that a homeowner in the District with $10,000 income lives in a house taxed on an assessment of $25,000; a $35,000 earner lives in a house valued at $87,500; and a $75,000 earner in a house valued at $187,500. The comparable figures for Arlington, for example, are $27,400, $95,900 and $205,500, respectively.
A companion study showed that the District's tax burden per household for 1981, two years before the regional study, was near--but not at--the top among burdens on taxpayers in the nation's largest cities.
For a family earning $35,000, the District tax burden of $3,827 in 1981 ranked seventh, behind Newark (tops at $5,650), Boston, New York, Providence, Milwaukee and Wilmington. It was just $2 above Baltimore.