Utah Retirement

Utah has emerged as a popular retirement destination in the last decade. The state has a lot to offer retirees, including beautiful scenery, low taxes, a low cost of living, and a quiet small-town lifestyle.

The cost of living in most parts of Utah is about 5% below the national average. The popular retirement destination of St. George had a cost of living around 95% of the national average. The cost of living in Salt Lake City was slightly above the national average. One community in the state, Cedar City, had a cost of living that was 88% of the national average.

Heating and air conditioning costs are higher in Utah because of the state's extreme temperatures. Most parts of Utah get very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. Temperatures often rise to over 100 degrees in St. George in the summer.

Persons who live in Utah have higher driving costs given the state's long distances, but gas prices in Utah are much lower than the national average. In July 2011, the average price for a gallon of regular in Utah was around $3.35, the national average price was $3.70.

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Housing Costs in Utah

Housing costs are high in Utah. The average cost of a home in the state was $193,500 in 2011. This is $55,500 more than the average house in Nevada which cost $138,000 in 2011. The lowest housing costs in Utah are in Cedar City where the average house was selling for $140,000 in 2011. Housing costs in St. George were actually higher than the most of the state the average house there cost $199,000 in 2011.

Housing prices were higher in Utah because the economy has been better than that of neighboring states in recent years. Utah's unemployment rate was lower than Nevada's and Colorado's in 2011.

Utah Income Tax

Utah has a flat income tax which means there is one tax rate of 5% for all taxpayers. You will be exempt from the state income tax if the adjusted gross income on your federal tax return is less than your federal standard deduction. All retirement income, including Social Security, is taxable in Utah but persons over 65 are eligible for a $450 state income tax credit.

Utah Sales Tax

All retail purchases except prescription drugs are subject to the Utah state sales tax. There are two different state sales tax rates: a 2.75% rate on food and a 4.70% rate on all other purchases. The effective sales tax rate can be much higher because local governments have the power to raise it up to 7.55%. The fuel tax in Utah is 24.5 cents per gallon for gasoline or diesel.

Utah Property Taxes

Utah's property tax rates are well below the national average. 37 of the 50 states had higher property tax rates than Utah. The property tax rates in Utah were lower than most Western states including Colorado but higher than those in Nevada and New Mexico.

Utah homeowners who are over 66 years old can apply for a property tax credit that can reduce their property tax. Utah renters and mobile home owners who rent lots can also apply for a Circuit Breaker property tax credit that refunds part of their rent.

Capital: Salt Lake City
Cost of Living Rank: #17
Sales Tax: 4.75%
Income Tax: 5.0%
State Website: http://www.utah.gov