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Swiss tax burden among lowest in world

Tax burdens vary depending on where people live in Switzerland Keystone

People living in Switzerland shoulder one of the lowest income tax burdens in the world, according to the latest research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

This content was published on April 13, 2016 - 12:28

Single people have the sixth lowest tax burden of the 34 OECD countries, while families (defined as a couple with one income earner and two children) are the fourth best off in terms of state levies on income (see graph below).

The OECD Taxing Wages 2016 report measured both income tax rates and the real tax and social security burden of individuals and families using a “tax wedge” formula. This takes into account tax payments by both employees and employers minus tax breaks granted by the state.

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But it does not take into account other fixed living costs, such as health care and accommodation or other forms of taxation. In Switzerland, taxes are set at federal, cantonal and communal levels and can vary sharply depending on the canton people live in.

The average worker faces a 35.9% tax burden throughout the OECD countries, the report found. Belgium has the highest tax wedge for single people at 55.3% and Chile the lowest at 7%.

Taxes on wages rose by around 1% across all OECD countries between 2010 and 2015. In Switzerland, the increase has been a mere 0.2%.

The report found that the average tax burden has stabilised following a steady increase across the board since 2011.

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