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OLR Research Report


December 2, 2011

 

2011-R-0430

COMPARATIVE TAX BURDEN IN INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES

By: Judith Lohman, Assistant Director

You asked for information comparing the total tax burden in the United States to that in other industrialized countries.

 

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) compiles figures annually on the tax burdens in its 34 member countries. It calculates each country's average tax revenue as a proportion of its gross domestic product (GDP), a common measure of tax burden. The most recent year for which it published figures for all 34 countries is 2009. For 2010, as of the date of this report, it has published figures for 30 countries.

According to the OECD, Denmark and Sweden were the highest taxed countries in both 2009 and 2010. The United States ranked 32nd of 34 for 2009 and 28th of 30 for 2010.

OECD figures for 2009 and 2010 are shown in Tables 1 and 2 below.

Table 1: Tax Revenue as a Percentage of GDP

2009

Rank

Country

%

1

Denmark

48.09

2

Sweden

46.74

3

Italy

43.42

4

Belgium

43.17

5

Norway

42.90

6

Austria

42.67

7

Finland

42.61

8

France

42.36

9

Hungary

39.86

10

Netherlands

38.24

11

Luxembourg

37.64

12

Slovenia

37.38

13

Germany

37.33

14

Estonia

35.90

15

Czech Republic

34.67

16

United Kingdom

34.34

17

Iceland

33.89

18

Canada

32.01

19

Poland

31.77

20

New Zealand

31.50

21

Israel

31.37

22

Spain

30.65

23

Portugal

30.61

24

Greece

30.04

25

Switzerland

29.72

26

Slovak Republic

28.96

27

Ireland

27.80

28

Japan

26.93

29

Australia

25.94

30

Korea

25.53

31

Turkey

24.64

32

United States

24.12

33

Chile

18.39

34

Mexico

17.43

Source: OECD Revenue Statistics

Table 2: Tax Revenue as a Percentage of GDP

2010

Rank

Country

%

1

Denmark

48.19

2

Sweden

45.77

3

Belgium

43.77

4

Italy

42.99

5

France

42.86

6

Norway

42.82

7

Finland

42.14

8

Austria

41.98

9

Slovenia

37.73

10

Hungary

37.62

11

Luxembourg

36.67

12

Germany

36.31

13

Iceland

36.26

14

United Kingdom

35.04

15

Czech Republic

34.90

16

Estonia

33.95

17

Israel

32.38

18

Spain

31.70

19

New Zealand

31.30

20

Portugal

31.28

21

Canada

30.95

22

Greece

30.94

23

Switzerland

29.83

24

Slovak Republic

28.35

25

Ireland

27.99

26

Turkey

25.95

27

Korea

25.07

28

United States

24.83

29

Chile

20.88

30

Mexico

18.10

Source: OECD Revenue Statistics

JL:ro