How is Utah for retirement?

Find out how Utah is for retirement, the pros and cons of retiring in the Beehive State, and some fantastic towns to think about.

3 min read

Is Utah on your list of retirement destinations? While the Beehive State has one of the highest taxes in the United States, it does have major draw cards for retirees, including some of the best medical care in the nation. It’s a sparsely populated state with incredible diversity in scenery, excellent outdoor activities, and a low crime rate. In many areas, the overall cost of living is low, too. For the right retiree, Utah could be a good match.

Utah is a moderately friendly state for retirement. All forms of retirement income, including Social Security, pensions, and 401(k) withdrawals are subject to state income taxes at a flat rate of 4.85%. However, you may be eligible for partial or full credit, depending on how much income you earn. Property taxes are relatively low in Utah, at 0.52%, while sales taxes average 6.96%. Utah does have sin taxes, but there are no estate or inheritance taxes.

Is Utah tax-friendly for retirement?

Utah is one of the states that taxes all retirement incomes, including Social Security. All retirement incomes, including Social Security retirement benefits, pensions, and retirement savings plan withdrawals (from 401(k), IRA, 403(b), etc.) are taxed at an income tax flat rate of 4.95%. In this aspect, it underperforms considerably compared to neighboring Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, and Colorado.

However, there is a tax credit (up to $450) that you can leverage to reduce this burden. It drops by 2.5c a dollar once you pass certain limits. The income limits apply up to $30,000 for single filers, $25,000 for married couples who file separately, and $50,000 for joint filers.

How much are sales taxes in Utah?

Utah has an average sales tax rate of 6.96%, comprising a state-wide sales tax of 4.85% and county/city rates averaging 2.11%. Groceries are partially taxed at 3%, but prescription medication and medical equipment are exempt from sales taxes.

Utah also has sin taxes, including a rather steep $12 per gallon on alcohol. Gasoline is taxed at $0.32, higher than the US average. On the plus side, there are no inheritance or estate taxes in Utah.

How much are property taxes in Utah?

Property taxes in Utah are relatively low, at just 0.52%. Utah homeowners pay about $520 per $100,000 in property value. There are many areas of the state with relatively low housing costs, but the bigger cities can be pricey. Most homeowners will not pay more than $1,000 annually, and even in areas with higher property values, the average is just under $3,000.

Additionally, there is a homestead exemption which removes 45% of your home’s valuation from tax considerations. Seniors can also leverage the Utah Circuit Breaker. You must be age 66 or older with a household income below $35,800. If you are eligible for the Utah Circuit Breaker, you could receive up to $1,110 in property tax abatements under this program.

Pros of retiring in Utah

Medical care

Utah is ranked the second-best state for healthcare. The good healthcare standards are reflected in the high life expectancy in the state- 80 years for females and 76 for males. If you’re worried about the quality of care in your golden years, Utah should be on your radar.

Low crime

Utah has some of the safest cities in the country. Compared to the national average, Utah has a lower violent crime rate at 2.61 per 1,000 residents, against 4 per 1,000 residents nationally. However, property crime rates are higher in Utah at 22.35 per 1,000 residents against 19 per 1000 residents nationally. You can find relatively safe neighborhoods in Utah, and you won’t be worried about crime.

Outdoor activities

Utah is a good state for an active retirement. It has some of the best snow in the world for skiing, plenty of national parks, a vibrant outdoor music scene, and a lot more to keep your retirement busy.

Diversity of Scenery

In this state, you can retire in the city or countryside, the desert or the mountains- it’s up to you. It’s also a four-season climate.


Utah has some of the most generous and friendly souls in the US. If you're looking to join a helpful and welcoming community in your old age, Utah is a good place to consider.

Cons of retiring in Utah

Low population

Utah is fairly sparsely populated, and you enjoy a quiet retirement without a lot of disturbance. You can expect to find low traffic and more outdoor space, but it could be lonely if you are a social person.


Utah is also becoming a popular destination across all ages, and we are seeing urban development and prices respond to that. Property values and the cost of living could rise significantly in the future.


There‘s very little religious and political diversity in Utah. If you’re used to more varied and diverse communities, you may find it a little off-putting. 

Temperature swings

Hand in hand with the fabulous skiing comes cold and snowy winters.  Surprisingly, the summers can swing quite far the other way, and they are often very dry.

Alcohol laws

If you like a drink with your meal, the odd legislation around alcohol in some areas of Utah may leave you scratching your head. Nor can you buy liquor on Sundays.

Best places to retire in Utah


Lehi is a great place for retirees. With easy access to the Utah lakes and mountains, Lehi is a good city for an active retirement. Additionally, there are some senior-focused communities and facilities in the area.


Though relatively small, Providence offers a low cost of living and a sizable senior community for you to enjoy. It has a charming suburban feel, and nearby Logan will serve all your big-city needs.


Lying just north of Salt Lake City, Syracuse skips many of the air pollution issues around Utah’s capital, while still allowing you convenient city access. The Great Salt Lake and Wasatch Mountains are right at hand, and it’s a friendly, family-focused town.


Orem offers one of the lowest costs of living in the state (2% below average) and has fantastic medical access. It has a high proportion of restaurants and shops for communal living, and the city has a pleasant vibrancy ideal for community-loving seniors.