Tax, it’s not a dirty four letter word, but for many of us its connotations are far worse than any curse. It’s been found that high tax rates generally relate to outstanding social services and high standards of living. Developed countries, where the tax rate exceeds 40{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb}, usually have free health care, free education, systems to care for the elderly and a higher life expectancy than those with lower tax rates.

Countries competing for the highest tax rates in the world are Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Belgium. According to the Guinness Book of World Records the honour goes to Denmark, where top earners are taxed up to 68{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb} of their earnings, and the basic tax rate starts at a whopping 42{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb}. According to a table provided by worldwide-tax.com, Denmark’s individual income tax is graduated from 35-59{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb}. Whichever statistics you choose to use, they should provide some perspective for those of us not living in Denmark.

Worldwide-tax’s table shows that Sweden’s individual tax rate peaks at 56{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb}. In answer to a question on Yahoo.Answers, a Swedish resident claims that the tax rate is around 60{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb}. Belgium and Austria are both in the 25-50{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb} tax bracket.

These figures seem to support the argument that countries with high tax rates take care of their residents. Israel, however, has a tax rate that peaks at 47{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb}, very nearly equal to that of Belgium and Austria, yet few would contend that it is in the same class with regard to civil delivery.

Dubai, Russia and Hong Kong have the lowest tax rates in the world. Those working in the UAE take home 95{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb} of their salaries. In Russia tax rates begin and end at 13{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb}, while you can expect to pay tax of between 16 and 20{b5271943e17dd97dcded82632e818dabbc62c3d3bd5fa50d83532f0f6a236ecb} in Hong Kong. Rates like these make them very attractive to expatriates from all over the world; looking to save as much money as they can in the shortest possible time frame. After about 5 – 10 years they go back home and pay large deposits on property, minimising their bonds and the pay back period, or set themselves up for a comfortable retirement.

Tax is a universal certainty. Another tax-related certainty that’s virtually universal is that single people pay more tax than their married brethren. Married couples with children pay even less tax. In fact, the more children you have, the lower your tax rate. Being fruitful and multiplying is not, however, widely regarded as a successful tax evasion strategy. It’s far better to gird your loins and get out your chequebook.

Recommended sites:

[http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061210193949AAwh2Uq]

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/money/tax/article2899499.ece

http://www.worldwide-tax.com/