Which countries collect the most tax?

As Benjamin Franklin once famously remarked, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” We pay tax on everything from our property to our income, on the products that we buy and on the profits our businesses make.

Every country has its own tax regime and policymakers choose how they raise money to fill their nation’s coffers. And, some countries charge higher tax rates than others.

The chart below shows the OECD countries and how much tax they collect as a percentage of their national output (GDP). A dark colour means a country collects higher taxes and a lighter colour means the nation collects a lower portion of their GDP in tax.

There are a number of interesting conclusions to be drawn from this chart. Firstly, we can see that several of the most advanced countries in the world collect relatively little tax as a proportion of their GDP. The USA, Australia, South Korea and Japan appear towards the bottom of the list. Maybe this is why the US has so much debt.

European countries collect the most tax, with Denmark’s total tax take equivalent to just under half its national output. Almost a quarter of Denmark’s revenue (24.3 per cent) comes from tax on personal income, compared to 10 per cent in the UK and just 8 per cent in the USA.

The chart also outlines what taxes contribute most to a nation’s Treasury. For example, Hungary, Sweden and Greece all claim a higher percentage of their taxes on consumption than the OECD average. France, the UK and the USA all take higher than average taxes from property. And, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea take a higher proportion from corporate income.

How does your country compare? Do you pay ore or less taxes than average? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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