June 06, 2003
Tax Rates

While doing a little blog hopping, I ran across an interesting link to the 2003 Index of Economic Freedom, a project of the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. One of the sections I found absolutely fascinating was the section on taxation. Europeans (and the Democratic Party) are quick to tell us that our tax rates are too low. Well, looking at the figures, one might be a bit confused by such a statement. Below is a table I whipped up, listing all the Western European countries (except Switzerland*). plus the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The four columns are, in order:

A) Top personal tax rate

B) Average marginal tax rate

C) Top corporate tax rate

D) Government spending as a % of GDP.

New Zealand3919.53338.4
United Kingdom40223038.3
United States3927.13530.4

I was particularly startled by the Corporate Income Tax rate. Only Belgium taxes business at a higher rate than does the United States. Point that out the next time someone on the left advocates increasing taxes on business.

The other interesting thing is the top income bracket for taxes. It is interesting to note that our tax rates fall in the middle, with six countries with lower top brackets. Sure, anomolies such as Sweden's 60% bracket exist, but Finland has a lower top bracket than the United States. Finland!

I'd love to see the reactions to the more taxes crowd over this whole issue. Somehow, I think that a few of their cherished notions will go down in flames.

*Switzerland has a crazy quilt of tax laws, with different tax rates in every canton. It is impossible to derive an accurate figure for their taxes, which is why I omitted them.

**Iceland has a flat tax of 35%.

(Link courtesy of Alan K. Henderson's Weblog, with its link to the Estonia page of the report.)

posted on June 06, 2003 08:12 PM


If anyone can explain to me why the table is hosed, I'd appreciate it. I didn't add a bunch or breaks or paragraphs between the intro and the table, so I have no idea why it has such a gap.

posted by timekeeper on June 6, 2003 08:21 PM

It's a quirk of the Movable Type function that autoinserts spaces between paragraphs; it handles tables rather ineptly, though this is due more to the way browsers handle tables than to any particular deficiency in MT.

posted by CGHill on June 7, 2003 08:49 PM

I would like to point out that the numbers, certainly for Canada, are incorrect. You list only the federal tax rates; each province also collects income tax, thus easily doubling the amount of income tax collected.

And let's not even get started on the 14.5% sales tax, for instance, in British Columbia.

posted by E W Cenek on June 8, 2003 09:58 AM

E W, the tax rates listed are for federal taxes. The US tax rate does not cover any of the taxes levied by the states, or local taxes (such as New York City or Cincinnatti's taxes), nor does it cover sales taxes or Value-added Tax.

Canada, the US, and Australia are unusual in that their political subdivisons have the ability to levy taxes in addition to the central government. Almost all other nations relegate taxation and collection duties to the federal government.

posted by timekeeper on June 8, 2003 10:19 AM

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