It’s still tax season in the U.S. for another few days, so Drew Desilver of Pew Research’s Fact Tank took a look how Americans’ tax bills compare with those of people in other developed countries. It turns out the U.S. is on the low end.
Because there are a lot of variables when comparing tax codes, Pew Research only focused on national-level income taxes plus mandatory social-insurance contributions as a percentage of gross income. We calculated this for four different family types: a single employed person with no children; two married couples with two children, one with both parents working and the other with one worker; and a single working parent. In all cases, the U.S. was below the 39-nation average – in some cases, well below.
In the U.S., a single, childless resident making the average wage in 2014 ($50,099), for instance, paid 24.8% of her gross income in federal income tax and payroll taxes, versus the 39-country average of 27.3%. Such a person living in Belgium, by contrast, would pay 42.3% of her gross income. An American married couple, both working (one at the average wage, one at two-thirds of it) and with two kids, paid 19.4% of their gross income in taxes; a similar Belgian family would have paid nearly double that rate, or 38.3%.