Taxing times

OECD Observer

Personal income tax is the single largest source of revenue in OECD countries, accounting for 30% of total tex revenue in 1998, ahead of social security at 28%. But while the US government still receives 41% of its tax revenue in personal income tax, almost double social security at 24%, in Europe and Japan social security accounts for the lion’s share, at 32% and 38% respectively.

Japan has the highest proportion of corporate income tax in its revenue mix, at 13%, compared with 7% in Europe and 9% in the United States, against an OECD level of 9%. The European Union leads the field in consumption tax, at 30% of the total compared with 19% in Japan, 16% in the United States and 24% for the OECD as a whole.

Social security contributions were the main source of general government revenue in seven OECD countries in 1998 – Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain. Consumption tax was the single most important tax in Hungary, Iceland, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Poland and Turkey.

Property taxes accounted for 10% or more of revenue in just five countries – Canada, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, against 9% for the OECD area as a whole.


OECD Revenue Statistics: 1965/1999, 2000.

©OECD Observer No 225, March 2001

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