Economics Editor, The Age
What the table doesn't show is what you get for your taxes paid. For example in the USA your don't get any medical coverage, while here in Australia you do. That has to be worth a couple of percent.Also is this table for federal taxes? does it include things like council rates, payments to state owned water authorities etc?-Marek
You should always aim to lower the burden. Lets aim for... 25% of GDP.
Query whether the fact that the Aus numbers are for 2007 figures rather than 2008 actually inflates our % relative to other countries because of the financial downturn in 2008 (and corresponding reduced tax take which I suspect would be larger in % terms than the %fall in GDP).
The OECD definition includes taxes from all levels of government including local government, so council rates are definitely in. But I think that user charges are not counted as taxes, so I suspect that water rates are not included for any country.The other thing to note is that the figures are for 2007 for Australia when we were running a surplus, whereas in the USA they were definitely running a deficit.
thanks for the info PW. I for one consider the parks charge on my water bill as a tax -Marek
Over the last 50 years has our tax burden been increasing? I for one don't think we pay too much tax, and I wouldn't want to trade medicare, good public schools etc. for a lower tax. A comparison with other countries also needs to look at cultural factors effecting welfare and employment. Comparing Japan to Australia is almost meaningless unless you include these.
So Denmark has the highest taxes. We have a Dane in our family so we know that, in spite of their high taxes, the standard of living is high. The social support that every person gets from cradle to grave is also fantastic: eg virtually no private schools as the state ones are so well funded; free child care; serious help/training if you lose your job.
My big objection is the complexity and mixed messages that our tax system sends. Compliance costs in terms of time, effort and money are horrible (the US is the same BTW). I don't believe taxation should be used for social engineering, but that's a philosophical position on my part.We also pay a lot hidden taxes as well. Do the figures include fuel excise, stamp duty, payroll taxes and other indirect taxation?
Adam S - the figures are for total taxes and they include all the items you mention - and a few others.
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