Examining the Sources of Government Tax Revenue Among Countries in the OECD

Richard Borean

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Different countries rely on different kinds of taxes to raise government revenue. Decisions about revenue sources can stem from geographic location, policy initiatives seeking to attract investment, and more. Today, the nonpartisan Tax Foundation released a breakdown of how heavily each country in the OECD relies on individual income, corporate income, social insurance, property, and consumption taxes for its tax revenue. Additionally, the report examines how the revenue sources differ from one another and how they have changed over time.

In general, most OECD countries lean more on tax revenue from social insurance taxes and consumption taxes than other types of taxes. The United States, in contrast, relies more on individual income taxes while raising relatively little from consumption taxes. This policy difference matters when you consider that consumption taxes raise revenue with less economic damage than individual income taxes.

Additionally, OECD countries collect little from the corporation income tax (8 percent of total government revenue on average), while the U.S relies on the CIT for 9.4 percent of total government tax revenue.

Full report: Sources of Government Revenue in the OECD, 2014