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Swedes pay less tax than the Danes

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08:19 CEST+02:00
Danes pay the highest level of tax in the EU, measured as a tax-to-GDP ratio of 48.2 percent, pushing Sweden into second place with an overall tax take of 47.1 percent, new figures from Eurostat show.

"In comparison with the rest of the world, the EU27 tax ratio remains generally high and more than one third above the levels recorded in the USA and Japan. However, the tax burden varies significantly between Member States," Eurostat said in a statement on Monday.

The overall tax-to-GDP ratio in the EU27 was 39.3 percent in 2008 and so both the Swedes and the Danes pay significantly more in tax than the EU average.

The overall tax take has increased somewhat since the financial crisis, from 39.7 percent in 2007, but still down on 40.6 percent in 2000.

Romania has the distinction of paying the least tax in the EU with a take of 28 percent, followed by Latvia on 28.9 percent, Slovakia on 29.1 percent and Ireland on 29.3 percent.

Swedes, who long occupied top spot in the rankings, have seen their tax burden declined steadily from a 2000 high of 51.8 percent. Neighbouring Finland has also cut its levies from 47.2 percent in 2000 to 43.1 percent in 2008.

Cyprus and Malta have meanwhile experienced the highest increases over the period, from 30 percent to 39.2 percent, and 28.2 percent to 34.5 percent respectively.

Among euro area countries the overall tax ratio fell to 39.7 percent in 2008, from 40.4 percent in 2007 with taxes following a similar trend to the EU27, just at a slightly higher level.

The largest source of tax revenue in the EU27 is labour taxes, representing over 40 percent of total tax receipts, followed by consumption taxes at roughly one quarter and taxes on capital at just over one fifth.

In Sweden "implicit tax rate" on labour has declined from 46 percent in 2000 to 42.1 in 2008, and on capital, from 43.2 percent to 27.9 percent over the period. Taxes have meanwhile increased on consumption, from 26.3 percent in 2000 to 28.4 percent in 2008.

Sweden still has the highest top tax rate on personal income in the EU27 with 56.4 percent in 2010, followed by Belgium on 53.7 percent and the Netherlands on 52 percent. The lowest top rate income taxes can be found in Bulgaria with 10 percent, and the Czech Republic and Lithuania on 15 percent.

This information comes from the 2010 edition of the publication Taxation trends in the European Union issued by Eurostat, which is the statistical office of the European Union and the Commission's Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union.

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