Even as the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic ripped through countries in 2020, the average OECD tax-to-GDP ratio rose from 33.4% to 33.5%. This can be explained by precipitous falls in countries’ GDP that were greater than the nominal falls in tax.
Across OECD countries, the tax-to-GDP ratio ranged from 17.9% in Mexico to 46.5% in Denmark. Between 2019 and 2020, 20 OECD countries saw increases in the tax-to-GDP ratios, while 16 countries saw falls. Spain saw an increase in its tax-to-GDP ratio of 1.9 percentage points, the largest observed, followed by Mexico (1.6 percentage points). Meanwhile, Ireland saw the biggest fall, at 1.7 percentage points.
Between 2010 and 2020, 30 OECD countries reported higher tax-to-GDP ratios during that period, with the Slovak Republic (6.7 percentage points) and Greece (6.5), seeing the biggest increases. Of the remaining eight countries, tax levels in 2020 were more than five percentage points lower than in 2010 in Ireland and more than three percentage points lower in Norway.