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OECD Releases The Largest Source Of Comparable Tax Revenue Data

08 July 2018

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced on 28th June 2018, the launch of a new database providing detailed and comparable tax revenue information for 80 countries around the world.

The database integrates information from the four annual Revenue Statistics publications, which provide tailored insights on tax systems and revenue priorities in African, Asian, Latin American and Caribbean (LAC), and OECD countries.

Key findings from the detailed comparable tax revenue data across 80 countries from 1990 onwards include:

  • Tax-to-GDP ratios range from 10.8% to 45.9%
    • Half of the countries have a tax-to-GDP ratio ranging between 18.2% and 33.2% of GDP.
    • The median tax-to-GDP ratio is 26.2%.
  • Since 2000, three-quarters of the countries in the database have increased their tax to GDP ratios:
    • Half of the countries have increased their tax-to-GDP ratios by between 0 and 5% of GDP;
    • A further quarter have increased their tax-to-GDP ratio by more than 5% of GDP. Most of these countries are from Africa and LAC
    • The remaining quarter of countries, where tax-to-GDP ratios fell, are predominantly OECD countries.

The results highlight that the countries with the lowest tax to GDP ratios in 2000, mostly from African, Latin American and Caribbean territories, rely more on taxes on goods and services. OECD countries rely more on social security contributions and personal income taxes. Nevertheless, since 2000 there is an increasing trend in VAT, which is notably increasingly significant in more than three-quarters of the countries, in many cases, with corresponding falls in the share of income taxation or taxes on other goods and services. The exceptions are the quarter of countries with the highest increases in their tax to GDP ratios, which recorded strong increases in most or all major tax types.

Tax revenues are now higher as a percentage of GDP and their levels are more evenly distributed across countries than they were at the turn of the century. To access the database, click here.

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