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Compare taxes here and there

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Posted: 3 pm ET

Taxes can play a big role in how much money you have to spend in retirement.

As a part of its financial literacy program, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or AICPA, has released a simple calculator available at that helps people figure out the cost of taxes where they live. It's a great retirement planning tool.

The designer of the calculator, Ed Karl, AICPA vice president - taxation, says, "Retirees, especially retirees living on fixed incomes, need a better handle on taxes and how being aware of all the levels of taxation can help them maximize their spendable income."

The calculator doesn't just look at the usual federal and state income taxes; it includes local sales and property tax rates, as well as special taxes on utilities, telephones, beer, cigarettes, gasoline, etc. The rates are all broken down by county. Karl said when he embarked on this project one of the things that surprised him was how much rates could differ from one county to the other. "Taxes, especially property taxes, can vary dramatically," he says.

Some calculators assume you'd consider moving when you retire, but Karl thinks that you don't have to move to take advantage of the information available in the AICPA calculator. If it is cheaper to buy clothes or a case of beer in the next county, then do your shopping there, he suggests.

To use this calculator, you will need to enter, at minimum, the county and/or city where you live, marital status, federal adjusted gross income and how many dependents you have. To get more information, you'll need to add more monthly budget details, including how much you pay for electricity, natural gas, cable, land-line phone, cellphone, gasoline, cigarettes, food, clothing and alcoholic beverages. In the interest of privacy, the calculator doesn't retain this information, so be sure to write it down elsewhere if you think you might want to use the calculator again.

Once you've filled in the form, you can compare counties all over the country -- the one where you live to the one next door to you or the one in Florida where you are thinking of retiring. It can be an enlightening exercise. As Karl says, "This calculator shows that taxes are far more than an April 15 phenomenon."

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January 14, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Copy and paste this link
and it will bring you direct to the website then find the word Calulator at top of page. Hope this helps everyone!


Enegue Sicnarf
January 14, 2014 at 8:20 pm

The calculators are found in the link in the first paragraph last sentence.

Using several of the calculators I come to the conclusion that IF I stop smoking today I will live 3 years longer than if I don't quit.
However, I will probably run out of money 5 years before that and would starve to death sooner than if I stop smoking. Of course IF I don't have any money I can't buy cigarettes anyway
which means I'll starve to death anyway.
Using their calculators I could increase my withdrawal from my IRA by 600% and have just enough money to the end and presently have a hell-of-a-time, problem is I fall asleep by 9 PM.

January 14, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Medicare should take care of their parents teeth. It's connected with heart disease. Someone listen That's what medicare insurance should include. Some type of dentalcare!

January 14, 2014 at 7:36 pm

I don't see a calculator or a link to one. Can some one help me out?

January 14, 2014 at 7:15 pm

I don't see a calculator or a link to one.

January 14, 2014 at 7:15 pm

good luck putting your trust into this crazy calculator; either I'm so old that I've gone senile and put in the wrong amounts into the various spaces/categories (and I'm positive that I put in the correct amounts!), or this is another smoke-and-mirrors calculator that gives me absolutely very little help; Jennie, try to give readers something that is useful rather than this piece of garbage calculator which is simply confusing!

January 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

I don't see a calculator, to which you refer in any of this information.

January 14, 2014 at 5:48 pm

The article would have been more informative if it had specified which of the twelve calculators on the link's website the author was referencing. My suggestion would be to be VERY specific if referring to a particular part of a website that contains multiple related items. That said, exactly to which calculator in that list were you referring?

Thank you.