Kentucky State Income Tax Overview

The state of Kentucky imposes a state income tax on both its residents as well as others who live outside of the state but earn income from a source based in Kentucky.  This means that if you earn income from a Kentucky source, you may have to file a state income tax return separate from the federal income tax return overseen by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  You can learn more about federal income tax on our “Tax Relief” page.

Following are frequently asked questions related to Kentucky state income tax.

Who has to file a state income tax return for Kentucky?

Your need to file a state income tax return in Kentucky depends on the size of your family and the amount of your modified gross income, your Kentucky adjusted gross income, and your income from self employment.

Your modified gross income is the larger of the following:

  • Your federal adjusted gross income including interest income from any non-Kentucky municipal bonds and lump-sum pension distributions not included in your federal adjusted gross income
  • Your Kentucky adjusted gross income including any lump-sum pension distributions not included in your federal adjusted gross income

Your Kentucky adjusted gross income is your federal adjusted gross income including any additions and subtractions from Kentucky Schedule M Modifications to Federal Adjusted Gross Income.

You must file a Kentucky state income tax return if your modified gross income and your Kentucky gross income exceeds the amounts noted in the tables below.

If your Family Size is: And your Modified Gross Income is greater than:
One $10,890
Two $14,710
Three $18,530
Four $22,350

 

If your Filing Status is: And your Kentucky Adjusted Gross Income is greater than:
Single under age of 65 $3,280
Single age 65 or over or blind $5,280
Single age 65 or over and blind $6,550
Husband and wife both under age 65 $4,280
Husband and wife and only one age 65 or over $5,950
Husband and wife and both age 65 or over $7,050

If you are self employed, you must file a Kentucky state income tax return if you have modified gross income greater than the amounts noted in the first chart above, regardless of the amount of your Kentucky adjusted gross income.

If you do not meet the filing requirements noted above, you do not have to file a Kentucky state income tax return, unless your employer withhold state income tax from your paycheck and you want to obtain a refund of that money.

What is the tax rate for Kentucky state income tax?

Kentucky uses a marginal tax rate ranging between 2% and 6% as noted in the table below.

If taxable amount is: Tax Rate is:
$3,000 or less 2%
Over $3,000 but no more than $4,000 $60 plus 3% of amount over $3,000
Over $4,000 but no more than $5,000 $90 plus 4% of amount over $4,000
Over $5,000 but no more than $8,000 $130 plus 5% of amount over $5,000
Over $8,000 but no more than $75,000 $280 plus 5.8% of amount over $8,000
Over $75,000 $4,166 plus 6% of amount over $75,000

When is my Kentucky state income tax return due?

Kentucky state income tax is due on April 15 or if April 15 falls on a weekend, the first non-holiday business day after April 15.  A six-month extension to file is available if you need additional time to complete your tax return, but you must file for the extension before April 15.

If you obtain an extension, remember that the extension is only additional time to file your Kentucky state income tax return.  If you have any tax liability, you must still pay an estimate of that amount by the original April 15 filing date.  Any unpaid tax liability will result in the assessment of interest and a penalty.

Are there any exemptions on Kentucky state income tax for pension or social security income?

Kentucky does not tax pension amounts unless they are above $41,110.  Kentucky income tax does not apply to any amount of Social Security income.

How can I obtain help with my Kentucky state income tax return?

While the information above should not be taken as tax advice, you can speak with a tax attorney who is familiar with Kentucky state income tax law and can answer all your questions by calling the number at the top of this page.

by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.