Property Taxes in the United States

Nonresident individuals in the U.S. are liable to pay income tax on their U.S.-sourced income. There are four filing categories for taxpayers: (1) single, (2) head of household, (3) married filing jointly, and (4) married filing separately. However, unmarried nonresidents are not allowed to file as heads of household. Married nonresidents are also not allowed to file jointly with a nonresident spouse.

Rental Income Tax

Income is taxed at the federal level and at the state level (at progressive rates). Non-resident alien property owners´ rents are by default subject to a flat 30% income tax withheld at source. However, the non-resident taxpayer can choose to report real property rental income net of expenses, subject to tax at the regular progressive income tax rates. Income tax at the state level is very dependent on the state where the property is purchased. Most states impose some personal income tax, with the exception of Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming, which have none. Rates vary but are usually below 10%.

Federal Income Tax

Employment income, as well as business and professional income, is subject to progressive federal income tax rates. Investment income is subject to a 30% withholding tax if such income is considered to be Fixed Determinable Annual Periodical (FDAP) income.

In the computation of the tax liability for employment and business income, only trade or business expenses related to employment, contributions to U.S. charities, and U.S. casualty losses are deductible. Nonresidents are not allowed to claim the standard deduction and may only claim one personal exemption, regardless of marital status and number of dependents. For investment income, the withholding tax is levied on the gross amount, without offset for deductions, personal allowances, or credits.

State Income Tax

State governments in the U.S. levy their own taxes on income. Non-residents are subject to state income taxes in the state where they earn income. The rates are progressive and vary from state to state. The income brackets are mostly the same as, or sometimes modified from, the federal income tax brackets.

Seven states, however, do not impose taxes on income. These states are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington State, and Wyoming. New Hampshire only applies tax on interest and dividend income, and Tennessee only imposes taxes on income from stocks and bonds.

An Example: New York State

The state of New York imposes taxes on the New York-sourced income of nonresidents. The rates are progressive and are applicable to both residents and nonresidents. Nonresidents are also allowed to avail of personal allowances or credits, unless the credit or allowance is specifically for residents.


Single Married Filing Jointly Married Filing Separately Head of Household Tax Rate
Up to $11,600 Up to $23,200 Up to $11,600 Up to $16,550 10%
$11,600 – $47,150 $23,200 – $94,300 $11,600 – $47,150 $16,550 – $63,100 12% on band over your bracket
$47,150 – $100,525 $94,300 – $201,050 $47,150 – $100,525 $63,100 – $100,500 22% on band over your bracket
$100,525 – $191,950 $201,050 – $383,900 $100,525 – $191,950 $100,500 – $191,950 24% on band over your bracket
$191,950 – $243,725 $383,900 – $487,450 $191,950 – $243,725 $191,950 – $243,700 32% on band over your bracket
$243,725 – $609,350 $487,450 – $731,200 $231,251 – $365,600 $243,700 – $609,350 35% on band over your bracket
Over $609,350 Over $731,200 Over $365,600 Over $609,350 37% on band over your bracket
Source: Global Property Guide

Federal Capital Gains Tax

Non-resident aliens are subject to a 30% tax withheld at source on US-source net capital gains if they are in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year in which the gain occurs.

State Capital Gains Tax

Most states tax capital gains as part of income. State income tax rates apply.

Corporate Taxation

The standard corporate income tax rate ranges from 22% to 33%, levied on income and capital gains earned by companies. This rate applies to companies incorporated in the USA or foreign companies doing business in the USA.

Property Buying and Selling Taxes/Costs

Tax Type Rate
Property Transfer Tax 0.05% - 3.00%
Agent Fee (Buyer) -
Agent Fee (Seller) 3.00% - 6.00%
Legal Fees 0.50% - 1.00%
Notary Fee 0.10%
Roundtrip Cost 3.65% - 10.10%
Source: Global Property Guide, PWC, KPMG

Other Property Taxes

Real Estate Tax

Real estate property is not taxed at the federal level. Real estate taxes are levied by the local municipalities and counties of the U.S. states. The rates vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, as well as the methods of assessing the value of the property.

An Example: New York City

The city of New York levies taxes on real estate property within its jurisdiction. The tax is levied on the assessed value of the property. The assessment begins with the classification of property into one of the four classes.

  • Class I includes most residential property of up to three units (such as one-, two-, and three-family homes and small stores or offices with one or two apartments attached), vacant land zoned for residential use, most condominium buildings not more than three stories.
  • Class II consists of all other property that is primarily residential, such as cooperatives and condominiums.
  • Class III includes property with equipment owned by a gas, telephone, or electric company.
  • Class IV includes all commercial and industrial property, such as office or factory buildings.

Once the property’s class is determined, the appropriate multiplier, called the assessment ratio, for its class is applied to its market value. For Class I properties, the assessment ratio is 6%. For Classes II, III, and IV, the assessment ratio is 45%. The end result of this calculation will be the assessment value, on which the tax will be imposed. The rates of the property tax vary for each class.


Category Tax Rate
Class I 20.385%
Class II 12.729%
Class III 11.891%
Class IV 10.514%