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Sweden heads world tax league

Sweden again topped the world league table of national tax burdens in 2005, according to the annual OECD survey of the leading 24 industrial nations. Increasing incomes for private individuals and companies mean that the total amount of tax paid rose in 17 out of the 24 nations surveyed by the OECD.

For every Kronor earned, Swedes pay more than anyone else in tax, and the figure has risen since 2004. In 2005, the total tax revenue as a percentage of Sweden's GDP was 51.1% – up from 50.4% the previous year.

Almost 40% of Sweden's tax revenue comes from personal and corporate income taxation, while about 25% is from social taxes and a similar figure from taxes on goods and services.

Scandinavian countries dominated the top five positions. Denmark was ranked second, with a 49.7% tax burden, with Norway fourth and Finland fifth. Belgium, where 45.4% of GDP was accounted for by tax, came third.

Four other countries – France, Iceland, Austria and Italy – also posted figures that exceeded 40%.

At the other end of the scale, Mexicans paid the least tax with only 19.8% of GDP going to the government. Only four other nations – Korea, the USA, Slovakia and Switzerland – had an effective tax score of 30% or less, although Ireland with 30.5% was only marginally above this rate.

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