State sales tax rates are available for viewing online at TaxFoundation.org. The Tax Foundation shows each state's sales tax on a map and also ranks them from highest to lowest in list format.
The Tax Foundation shows that California has the highest state-level sales tax rate at 7.5 percent, as of 2015. Five states tie for the second-highest statewide rate with 7 percent each: Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Tennessee. The lowest non-zero statewide sales tax is in Colorado, with a rate of 2.9 percent.
The key findings in this study are that 45 states collect statewide sales taxes and 38 states collect local sales taxes, states the Tax Foundation. Sales tax rates differ by state, but sales tax bases also impact how much revenue is collected from a tax and how the tax affects the economy.
No changes to state-level sales taxes took effect in the first half of 2014, according to the Tax Foundation. However, Rhode Island considered eliminating its 7 percent sales tax in 2013 and revisited the idea in January of 2014. If the proposal had passed, Rhode Island would have become the first state ever to repeal its statewide sales tax.
The Tax Foundation states that retail sales taxes are one of the most transparent ways to collect tax revenue, making it less confusing to taxpayers than graduated income tax rates and brackets.