Taxes Around The World

More

The Economist has a fun daily chart today. It lists personal income tax rates for various countries. As you might guess, the U.S. is towards the bottom of the list. Of course, this chart does not show the entire picture.

First, here's the chart, from the Economist:

economist personal income taxes.jpg

From this, you might conclude that it's pretty good to live in the U.S. -- that is, if you don't like paying taxes. If you do, then you've probably already bought a one-way ticket to Slovenia. Yet, this chart only tells part of the story.

It fails to include other kinds of taxes, like excise taxes, value-added (sales) taxes and corporate taxes. The first of these is hopelessly complicated to compare among nations. They've all got different products that are taxed at different rates and in varied ways. In the U.S. states even differ in excise tax schemes.

But I managed to find some data for the other two types. It's from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Center for Tax Policy and Administration. Unfortunately, their data does not exactly overlap the countries that the Economist looked at, but many of the same countries were still listed. So you'll have to forgive me for not being able to do better. I feel like this still helps make some interesting comparisons. I left the order similar to that in the Economist chart, but with some missing.

First, here's the value-added tax chart I created from OECD data:

VAT OECD2.PNG

That zero for the U.S. may be misleading. The OECD did not list the U.S., since there is no national value-added tax. Of course, states have value-added taxes, which vary. But even when you think about what you pay for your state sales tax, the U.S. rates look pretty low in comparison. Especially versus, say, Sweden.

Then there are corporate taxes:

corporate taxes OECD2.PNG

Here, the U.S. is shockingly high -- even compared to Sweden and Italy. Although it's not a totally clear rule, it looks like most countries that have lower personal income and value-added taxes make up for it in corporate taxes. And then there's Switzerland, the outlier and ideal place for true tax haters.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Daniel Indiviglio was an associate editor at The Atlantic from 2009 through 2011. He is now the Washington, D.C.-based columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He is also a 2011 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow through the Phillips Foundation. More

Indiviglio has also written for Forbes. Prior to becoming a journalist, he spent several years working as an investment banker and a consultant.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In