Tax policy analysis

Revenue Statistics - final data on tax ratios for 2014


Final Revenue Statistics data for all OECD countries in 2014

These data show that tax ratios vary considerably across countries. (Figure 1.1)

  • In 2014, Denmark had the highest tax to GDP ratio (49.6%), followed by France, Belgium and Finland.
  • In contrast, nine countries - Australia, Chile, Ireland, Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States - had tax ratios of below 30%.
  • Mexico had the lowest ratio at 15.2% followed by Chile at 19.8%.
  • The tax ratio in the OECD area as a whole (unweighted average) rose by 0.4 percentage points from 2013 to 34.2% in 2014. (Table 1.1)
  • Relative to 2013, overall tax ratios rose in 26 OECD member countries and fell in 9.
  • The largest increases in the ratio were in Iceland (2.9 percentage points), Denmark (2.8) and Japan (1.7) and New Zealand (1.3).
  • Three countries - Estonia, Netherlands and Slovak Republic - saw increases between 0.9 and 1.0 percentage points from 2013 to 2014.
  • The largest reductions were in Norway (1.2 percentage point) and the Czech Republic (1.0).

Key changes in the tax to GDP ratio of the main tax headings between 2013 and 2014

  • Revenues from taxes on income (personal and corporate income taxes together) as a percentage of GDP increased from 11.4% in 2013 to 11.5% in 2014 on average. The largest increase was in Denmark (2.9 percentage points) and Iceland (1.3 percentage point). Norway and Italy reported the largest falls in this ratio (by 1.7 and 0.6 percentage point of GDP respectively). (Table 1.2)
  • The corresponding ratios were largely unchanged between 2013 and 2014:
    • social security contributions remained at 9.1%  (Table 3.13);
    • payroll taxes remained at 0.4% (Table 3.19).
    • property taxes remained at 1.9% (Table 3.21);
    • taxes on goods and services increased from 10.8 to 11.0% (Table 3.23).


Tax revenues measured as a % of GDP should be interpreted with caution

Aggregate tax ratios often figure prominently in policy debates and they are sometimes linked directly to the economic performance of nations. A special feature included in Section S.2 of the 1999 edition of this Report explained why figures on tax revenues measured as a percentage of GDP should generally be interpreted with caution. More specifically, the revised guidelines set out in the 2008 System of National Accounts (SNA) that have been used to estimate the value of GDP for 32 of the 35 OECD countries, have resulting in higher GDP levels. As a consequence, the revised tax ratios reported in this publication are lower than tax to GDP ratios before these revisions. To limit any distortionary impact over the reporting period, the present edition of the Report employs revised GDP estimates for 1965 and later years in those cases where OECD countries have not reported revised GDP figures. The scale of the GDP revisions is considered in greater detail in the “Methodology issues” page.


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