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The average tax and social security burden on employment incomes increased in 26 out of 34 OECD countries in 2011 according to the new OECD Taxing Wages publication. Tax payers in Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and the Slovak Republic were among those hit with the largest increases. Those in New Zealand and the United States saw their tax burden fall. In Hungary, the average single worker without children was faced with the largest increase in the tax wedge, but for families with children, it fell.
The highest tax wedges for single workers without children who are earning the average wage in their country were observed in Belgium (55.5%), Germany (49.8%), and Hungary and France (49.4%). The lowest tax wedges on the same basis were in Chile (7%), Mexico (16.2%) and New Zealand (15.9%) The average for OECD countries was 35.3%.
In most countries the higher overall tax burden was due to personal income tax, rather than increased Social Security Contributions. Only 5 countries raised their statutory tax rates on average earnings. In most cases the rise in the tax burden was due to a higher proportion of earnings being subject to tax because the value of tax free allowances and tax credits fell relative to earnings. In a few countries including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland, they were actually reduced in nominal terms.
The OECD Taxing Wages report provides nationally comparative details about the taxation of employment incomes and the associated costs to employers for different household types and at different earnings levels. These are the key factors in determining the incentives both for individuals to seek work and for businesses to hire workers.
To read the full report, click here.