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The Highest Taxes in the World

Tax rates are higher, in some places


Put away those tea bags and confusing posters. The U.S., as it turns out, might not have it so bad tax-wise when compared to other major modern nations. Despite what Glenn Beck would have you believe.

Here’s a rundown of countries’ average "all-in" income tax rates by family type, from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. Data is for the year 2008, the most recent numbers available from the organization.

UPDATE: The Comment Board is lighting up over this article so we want to be perfectly clear. These rankings and the rates we calculated by the OECD - The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development - here's the full study, and a link to the particular data set we used.  These stats represent "all in" contributions, not just federal taxes... "The all-in tax rate, calculated as the combined central and sub-central government income tax plus employee social security contribution, as a percentage of gross wage earnings."

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#16: Ireland


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 14.6%

Single, two children: 9.4%

One-earner married couple, no child: 9.4%

One-earner married couple, two children: 6.7%

Average Income Tax: 10.02%

The Irish economy has been pummeled by the global financial crisis, as a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal notes. "Late last year, Ireland looked a lot like Greece. The financial crisis coincided with a housing bust that left Ireland's banks in terrible shape, requiring a government rescue. Ireland's fiscal deficit rose to almost 12% of gross domestic product—a shade under Greece's 12.7%."

As a result, taxes were raised and salaries were cut. The Journal continues" "Irish teachers and police have had their gross salaries slashed by as much as 15%, with new across-the-board taxes taking an additional cut. Dublin also reduced welfare benefits, helping to turn the once-booming Celtic Tiger into the austerity leader in Europe."

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#15: Czech Republic


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 23.6%

Single, two children: 15.7%

One-earner married couple, no child: 14.4%

One-earner married couple, two children: 6.6%

Average Income Tax: 15.08%

Experts are reportedly predicting a mixed recovery for the Czech Republic, but things certainly aren’t dire: “The IMF is expecting the Czech economy to grow 1.5% this year, the result of strong exports and a buildup of inventories. The fund is expecting consumer spending in the country to drop as unemployment continues to rise and wage growth remains stagnant.”

With the major tax benefit the government gives to married couples with children, I wonder how many singles still exist in the country?

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#14: United States


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 24.7%

Single, two children: 15.0%

One-earner married couple, no child: 20.0%

One-earner married couple, two children: 11.3%

Average Income Tax: 17.75%

Sure, we do pay taxes. But everything else is awesome in America. And compared to Germany’s 42.7%, we have nothing to complain about. You hear that, Glenn Beck? We are better than Germany.

And our stock market could rocket up soon, with one “watcher” saying the Dow could go to 11,500 , even though we do still have some fundamental problems.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#13: Japan


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 20.3%

Single, two children: 17.6%

One-earner married couple, no child: 18.9%

One-earner married couple, two children: 16.5%

Average Income Tax: 18.32%

Japanese investors may think that better times are on the way, and that a recovery could be for real: “Japanese stocks jumped Friday, buoyed by a report that the country's central bank was considering taking further monetary easing steps to shore up a recovery in the world's second-biggest economy.”

This bodes well for the nation’s coffers. After all, a healthy economy means more jobs and more income to collect, right?

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#12: Canada


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 23.4%

Single, two children: 17.2%

One-earner married couple, no child: 19.1%

One-earner married couple, two children: 17.2%

Average Income Tax: 19.23%

Canada’s already low taxes on individuals are coupled with an expected drop in corporation taxes, making it an attractive place to live and work. The country reportedly “will push ahead with plans to cut its corporate tax rate to 15 percent by 2012, but will crack down on tax evasion and scrap loopholes that include a tax credit for cosmetic surgery.”

NOOOOO! Not the precious plastic surgery loophole! What are they thinking?

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#11: Iceland


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 24.5%

Single, two children: 24.5%

One-earner married couple, no child: 14.5%

One-earner married couple, two children: 14.5%

Average Income Tax: 19.5%

Iceland, as you may know already, was hammered by the financial meltdown. No pun intended. And apparently the downturn and government spending has upset many of Iceland’s citizens. According to one Web site, “Iceland voters make Tea Partiers look like, well, people just sitting down at a Tea Party. They are practically revolting to overthrow the government - in fact, they already have swept the old power out of office, and today they will resoundingly reject a measure to repay absentee landlords the money owed them by a private bank: Icesave. Their $5.3 billion debt would be the equivalent of $5 Trillion here - owed to a foreign bank!” (This was posted on March 6.)

Photo Credit: neate_photos

#10: Australia


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 22.6%

Single, two children: 22.6%

One-earner married couple, no child: 19.1%

One-earner married couple, two children: 22.6%

Average Income Tax: 21.73%

It was recently reported that Australia’s federal government may raise taxes soon “to pay for an ambitious takeover of the nation's ailing public heath care system.”

Looks like health care legislation is hot right now, even down under.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#9: France


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 27.8%

Single, two children: 22.5%

One-earner married couple, no child: 23.9%

One-earner married couple, two children: 21.9%

Average Income Tax: 24.03%

Slow times are ahead for France’s economy. As BusinessWeek reported, “France’s economy will expand at a slower pace in the first quarter than previously estimated, growing 0.4 percent compared with an initial prediction of 0.5 percent, the central bank said in today’s statement.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#8: Italy


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 29.3%

Single, two children: 24.3%

One-earner married couple, no child: 26.7%

One-earner married couple, two children: 21.9%

Average Income Tax: 25.55%

Italy’s economy has hit an unexpected speed bump, BusinessWeek reported: “Italy’s economy unexpectedly shrank in the fourth quarter as manufacturers cut back on production even after the country emerged from its worst recession in more than six decades.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#7: Greece


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 26.3%

Single, two children: 25.5%

One-earner married couple, no child: 27.4%

One-earner married couple, two children: 26.6%

Average Income Tax: 26.45%

In case you haven’t heard, Greece is not having such a great year. Their government is in massive debt, and their own citizens are not too pleased with the government’s plans to correct the problem.

Those who work for the tax authorities in Greece are among the strikers who oppose the government’s new “austerity” plan to get its budget deficit under control: “Greek tax officials, court workers, sanitation workers and local government staff will stage a series of strikes and walk-outs this week, culminating in a 24-hour general strike Thursday to protest the government's latest austerity measures.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#6: Finland


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 30%

Single, two children: 30%

One-earner married couple, no child: 30%

One-earner married couple, two children: 30%

Average Income Tax: 30%

They may be taxed at a pretty high 30%, but at least everyone is taxed evenly. Unfortunately, flat taxes aren’t helping the country’s economy fight the global recession. According to one recent report Finland’s “economy last year saw its biggest annual fall since 1918 as the global downturn dampened demand for key exports like paper and mobile phones.”

When we can’t afford our fancy paper and Nokia smartphones, it hurts Finland’s economy. Big time.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#5: Austria


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 33.9%

Single, two children: 32.2%

One-earner married couple, no child: 33%

One-earner married couple, two children: 32.2%

Average Income Tax: 32.83%

Interestingly, Austria was hit by the global economic downturn, but not as severely as many other countries: “Austrian GDP contracted 3.6% in 2009 and it will probably see positive growth of nearly 1% in 2010. Unemployment has not risen as steeply in Austria as elsewhere in Europe, partly because its government has subsidized reduced working hour schemes to allow companies to retain employees.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#4: Germany


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 42.7%

Single, two children: 32.1%

One-earner married couple, no child: 33.2%

One-earner married couple, two children: 24.1%

Average Income Tax: 33.02%

Now this is interesting: “Thousands of wealthy Germans have come forward after authorities said they would buy a stolen CD with the names of up to 1,500 German citizens hiding cash away in Switzerland.”

How nice of them. You see, the German government intends to purchase a disc for around 2.5 million euro ($3.4 million) that essentially rats out the many rich German citizens who have been stashing large sums of cash in Switzerland to shirk German taxes. But now the tax man may have the upper hand, it would seem. With an extremely high 42.7% income tax rate for single taxpayers, we kind of see why people would want to hide their cash.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#3: Belgium



Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 42.5%

Single, two children: 39%

One-earner married couple, no child: 33.8%

One-earner married couple, two children: 31.3%

Average Income Tax: 36.65%

Belgium’s rather high tax rates make it difficult for retail workers to survive, says The Economist. “There are some genuinely tragic stories out there in this recession. For example, in Belgium, shop workers from the Carrefour supermarket chain are braced for a nationwide strike over plans to lay off nearly 2,000 staff at Belgian stores and depots. According to Le Soir newspaper, a 32 year old cashier with five years' experience at Carrefour is paid €1,705 a month, gross. After Belgian taxes and social security charges are deducted, that is a brutally small amount to live on.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#2: Denmark


Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 40.9%

Single, two children: 40.9%

One-earner married couple, no child: 35.6%

One-earner married couple, two children: 35.6%

Average Income Tax: 38.25%

Wow, 40.9%. Now that’s high. Interesting tidbit: Denmark’s unemployment rate is much lower than ours. As recently reported by The Wall Street Journal, “Denmark's unemployment rate held steady in January for the third straight month, showing the same kind of resilience that has surprised market watchers in neighboring Norway and Sweden. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.2%, Statistics Denmark said after revising both the December and November rates to 4.2% downward from 4.3%.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

#1: Hungary



Income tax rates:

Single, no child: 38.3%

Single, two children: 38.3%

One-earner married couple, no child: 38.3%

One-earner married couple, two children: 38.3%

Average Income Tax: 38.3%

According to a recent article in the Budapest Times, Hungarian politicians feel the tax burden needs to be lowered in order to stabilize the nation’s economy: “Tax cuts and employment growth are the main prescriptions offered by Hungary's major political parties to cure the country's lackluster competitiveness and its social ills.”

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Speaking of taxes…


Go ahead and make yourself comfortable. Pop open your favorite bottle of vino or brew yourself a relaxing hot chocolate… and visit our tax center!

The tax center has all the information you need to successfully navigate tax season. Why pay 42.7%, as a single taxpayer in Germany might? That’s craziness.

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