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Date published: 10/14/2012
But a think-tank ranking of states' business-tax climates puts Virginia just below the middle of all states, and drops Virginia's ranking a spot from last year.
The Tax Foundation's report says Virginia's business tax climate is 27th in the nation for the 2013 fiscal year.
That's down from 26th last year and 23rd two years ago.
Among the major tax areas measured, Virginia was ranked highly--in sixth place--for having a low corporate tax and a low sales tax.
The report used several measurements to rank states on the corporate income tax, including whether they have a gross receipts tax--like some Virginia localities' Business, Professional and Occupational License tax--how complicated their tax code is, whether they avoid double taxation, and how reliant they are on tax incentives for businesses. The Tax Foundation opposes tax incentives, which the group says favors some businesses over others and narrows the tax base.
Virginia has tax incentives but also a relatively low--6 percent--corporate tax rate.
The state also has a low sales tax, at 5 percent, and ranks the best out of states that levy a sales tax (the five states above Virginia in this ranking have no state sales tax).
"For states with a sales tax, Virginia has the best score because it has a low general sales tax rate, avoids tax pyramiding, and maintains low excise tax rates," the report said.
Virginia has one of the lowest cigarette tax rates (30 cents per pack; only Missouri's is lower) and one of the highest per-gallon liquor taxes ($20.91).
But Virginia doesn't fare as well when it comes to other measures. It ranked 38th for individual income tax rates, 38th for the unemployment insurance tax and 27th for taxes on real and personal property.
The study measures individual income tax rates because many businesses file income taxes as individuals. According to the Tax Foundation, between 1980 and 2009 the number of individuals putting business income on their federal taxes has more than doubled, to 30 million in 2009.
Individual tax rates, the report said, can affect whether people decide to branch out on their own as entrepreneurs or not.
States that don't impose an individual income tax at all ranked highest; Virginia came in 38th.