Denmark is confirmed as the OECD’s highest-tax country, followed by Sweden, while Mexico and Turkey remain the lowest-taxing countries, according to figures in the latest edition of the OECD’s annual Revenue Statistics publication
Overall, the average tax burden in the 30 OECD countries, calculated as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), is close to its historic peak of 36.1% in 2000. In 2006, the latest year for which complete figures are available, the tax-to-GDP ratio was 35.9%, up from 35.8% in 2005 and 35.2% in 2004. See Table A.
Revenue Statistics presents detailed and internationally comparable tax data in a common format for all OECD countries from 1965 onwards. The latest figures show a continued rise in revenues from corporate income taxes to an average 3.9% of GDP in 2006, compared with 3.7% in 2005 and 3.6% in 2000. In 1975, revenues from corporate income taxes amounted to only 2.2% of GDP. See Table B.
Whether this trend will continue in 2008 is uncertain, however. “The current economic slowdown is going to put additional pressure on government budgets,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría observed. Britain and the U.S. are already downgrading forecasts of how much revenue they can expect from the financial sector, and other countries are also likely to see a reduction in revenues from corporate income taxes.
Tax-to-GDP ratios are a reflection of government choices in fiscal policy, which can play a redistributive role that evens out inequalities. Despite Denmark’s high tax-to-GDP burden, surveys regularly report a high level of contentment among Danish citizens with the nation’s egalitarian society. By contrast, Mexico’s low tax-to-GDP ratio reflects a lack of redistributive policies and hinders the government’s ability to invest in the physical and social infrastructure that is required for a sustainable growth path.
Among other things, the latest figures show that:
Revenue Statistics is available to journalists on the OECD's password-protected website or on request from the Media Division. For further information, journalists are invited to contact the OECD's Media Division (tel.  1 45 24 97 00) or Christopher Heady in the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (tel  1 45 24 93 22).
For all tables, click here.