Jobs and the Future of Work

In which countries do people pay the most tax?

Ross Chainey
Content Lead, UpLink, World Economic Forum
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Income tax is a constant source of controversy and debate, no matter what country you live in. “Should 5% appear too small, be thankful I don’t take it all … You’re working for no one but me,” sang the Beatles in their 1966 hit Taxman, in an attack on the then Labour government’s high tax rates.

The amount of income tax you pay varies wildly between countries, from almost 60% for high earners in certain countries to 0% in some offshore havens and oil-rich nations.

So, which countries take the biggest slice of their workers’ earnings? The table below shows the top 15 countries for marginal personal income tax rates in 2014, as well as selected Nordic and G7 nations.


Sweden tops the list with a whopping tax rate of 56.86%, followed closely by Nordic neighbour Denmark (56.22%), France (54.01%) and Spain (52%).

For an in-depth look at how business tax rates (rather than personal income tax) vary around the world and what this means for a country’s level of competitiveness, take a look at our Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16.

Have you read?
Was Picketty right to call for a wealth tax?
Why the wealthy don’t understand income inequality
Why are tax revenues so low in South Asia?

Author: Ross Chainey, Digital Media Specialist, World Economic Forum

Image: Workers walk across a footbridge towards the Canary Wharf business district in London February 26, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

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Related topics:
Jobs and the Future of WorkGeo-Economics and PoliticsFinancial and Monetary SystemsEconomic Growth
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