Fact: Americans Don’t Pay the Highest Taxes

Anna Williams

If you had to cut a check to Uncle Sam this Tax Day, you might take a little solace in the news that, well, it could have been a lot worse if you lived elsewhere.

According to a new report by The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States has one of the lightest tax burdens in the developed world: Out of the 34 countries ranked, America came in 25th place.

The report calculates the tax burden by taking the total taxes paid by employers and employees, minus any tax benefits they receive, and divided by the total labor costs of the employer. The average individual tax burden for single, childless workers around the globe comes in at close to 36%—but the U.S. comes in at around 31%, on par with countries like Canada and Japan.

Other nations face much higher tax bills each year: Belgium’s tax burden came in at an average of 55.8% (!), while Germany is close behind at 49.3%. On the other side of the spectrum: New Zealand’s tax burden is just shy of 17%, and Chile’s tax burden is a mere 7%.

The report revealed that overall, however, income tax rates have surged in 25 out of the 34 countries surveyed—and Americans were hit with one of the largest jumps around the globe this year, thanks to the expiration of a temporary reduction in Social Security taxes.

Paid a hefty tax bill this year—but don’t exactly want to move to Chile to lighten your load? Set yourself up for a better 2015 with our guide to getting ahead in the new tax season.

  • Cannw

    So what if Belgium and other countries have high taxes, what the citizens get in return is a pretty damn good quality of life that includes some extremely important essentials such as quality healthcare, quality childcare, a pretty good education system, a work-life balance, beneficial vacation time, etc.

  • Fred Johnson

    Those Countries with the highest taxes also give everyone free healthcare, cheap higher education, long vacations. So, it’s not accurate to simply compare tax rates and brag that the USA is so low when in fact it is not low considering government freebees.

    • meowmix

      You’re still paying for it, just in a different way. It’s a wash.