NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Americans Have The Largest Tax Bill

June 4, 1999

Opponents of proposals to cut taxes point out that federal, state and local taxes account for "only" 28 percent of the nation's total income, and that this figure is smaller than in most other developed countries.

However, the proportion of income Americans pay in taxes is higher today than at any time since World War II, and since 1980 the per capita tax burden has risen 177 percent, or nearly 50 percent when adjusted for inflation.

Furthermore, the annual tax bill of the average American exceeds the per-capita tax payment in all other major industrialized countries:

  • While the Japanese also pay 28 percent of their income in taxes, their per capita tax bill is $7,226 annually, compared to $8,625 per capita for Americans, using purchasing power parities.
  • The Germans pay 38 percent or $6,593; the French pay 46 percent, or $6,386; and the Italians pay 43 percent or $6,212.
  • The British pay 38 percent, or $5,796.

All figures are for 1996, and come from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Source: James C. Miller III (Citizens for a Sound Economy), "Seeking GOP Colors for a Tax-Cut Battle," Washington Times, May 27, 1999.


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