Tax Comparisons Around the World
We’ve all got to pay taxes one way or another, and how much usually depends on what we earn – but also where we live.
Some people move to a country specifically because it has lower taxes, while others choose to settle in countries with higher taxes but excellent social services.
Whatever your reasoning, we’ve put together a guide on tax rates by country in 2022 so you can discover the best places for your finances.
If you need any help understanding some of the terminology, we’ve included a short glossary at the bottom of this article.
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Income tax rates by country
Tax rates differ by country – sometimes not by much, and sometimes by huge margins, both of which can drastically affect your decision to move somewhere.
Take a look at the table below for a breakdown of income tax rates by country. Some countries have different income tax rates for non-residents, so we’ve highlighted this in a separate column.
For countries where income tax is the same for residents and non-residents alike, we’ll use ‘N/A’ in the column. To keep the table more simple, we’re not including different tax bands for married couples, which can affect income tax in some countries.
|Country||Basic income tax rate||Income tax by band||Income tax bands for non-residents||Average annual salary (GBP)|
|UK||20% (£12,571–£50,270)||40% (£50,271–£150,000)|
45% (£150,000 and above)
|US||10% ($0.01–$9,950)||12% ($9,951–$40,525)|
37% ($523,601 and above)
|Canada||15% (CA$0.01–CA$49,020)||20.5% (CA$49,020–CA$98,040)|
33% (CA$216,511 and above)
|Australia||19% (AUD$18,201–$45,000)||32.5% (AUD$45,001–$120,000)|
45% (AUD$180,001 and above)
|France||11% (€10,225-–€26,070)||42% (€57,918015–€274,612 [single], €115,836–€549,224 [married])|
45% (€160,367 and above)
|Non-residents generally pay tax on their French-sourced income at a minimum tax rate of 20%, up to €27,519 and 30% for income above this.||29,015|
|Germany||14-42% €9,744 (single), €19,488 (married)||42% (€57,918015–€274,612 [single], €115,836–€549,224 [married])|
(€274,612 and above [single], €549,224 and above [married])
|Spain||19% (€0.01–€12,450)||24% (€12,451–€20,200)|
45% (€60,001 and above)
|Singapore||2% (S$30,000–S$40,000)||3.5% (S$40,001–S$80,000)|
20% (S$320,001 and above)
|Belgium||25% (€0.01–€13,440)||40% (€13,440–€23,720)|
50% (€41,060 and above)
|China||3% (CNY0.01–CNY36,000)||10% (CNY36,000–144,000)|
45% (CNY960,000 and above)
45% (CNY80,000 and above)
|Denmark||All income from employment or self-employment is taxed at 8% before income tax. This is called labour market contribution.||12.16% (DKK50,543–DKK544,799)|
15% (DKK544,800 and above)
|Highly paid and skilled expats (scientists, researchers, etc.) in Denmark can apply for a flat tax rate of 27% on their income for up to 84 months.||46,308|
|India||5% (₹2,50,000–₹5,00,000)||10% (₹5,00,001–₹7,50,000)|
30% (₹15,00,000 and above)
|If a non-resident earns an income in India and stays in the country for more than 120 days, they will be subjected to the same income tax rates as residents.||1,411|
|Republic of Ireland||0.8% (€15,000–€20,000)||6.4% (€20,001–€25,000)|
40.4% (€120,001 and above)
|Japan||5% (¥0.01–¥1,950,000)||10% (¥1,950,001–¥3,300,000)|
45% (¥40,000,001 and above)
|Monaco||0%||0%||If you’re a French national, then you will be subjected to the same income tax you would in France.|
All other non-residents do not pay any income tax. No wonder so many celebrities move to Monaco “for the weather”.
|New Zealand||10.5% (NZD0.01–NZD14,000)||17.5% (NZD14,001–NZD48,000)|
39% (NZD180,001 and above)
|If you’re working for a New Zealand employer as a non-resident, your income will automatically be taxed each month, according to how much you earn.||34,704|
|Switzerland||What you pay in income tax in Switzerland depends on which of the 26 cantons (regions) you live in. It also depends on which of the administrative districts of a town you live in. To put it one way, taxes in Switzerland are more complicated than solving a greasy Rubik’s cube with your elbows.||N/A||N/A||45,182|
Tax in the UK
The UK uses a progressive tax system, which in the most basic terms means that as you earn more, the amount of tax you pay increases. All taxes are managed by HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs), including income taxes, property taxes, capital gains, UK inheritance taxes, and VAT.
Many see the UK tax system as one of the most complicated in the world, but thankfully it’s relatively simple for most expats.
Income tax in the UK is determined by what you earn, and all of your income over a certain amount is subject to taxation. This includes income from investments, after deductions and allowances are subtracted.
What isn’t taxed is what the UK government deems ‘personal allowance’, which allows you to earn up to £12,570 as of the 2022/23 tax season.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced in the 2022 spring statement that the basic income tax rate of 20% will fall to 19%, although this isn't expected to happen until at least 2024. Also, he said that the National Insurance rate will go up by 1.25% in April 2022, which has prompted more than a few people to ask what the point of decreasing income tax was.
Two types of property tax exist in the UK – Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and Council Tax. SDLT is a tax you must pay when you purchase a property over a certain value. Right now, SDLT applies to residential properties over £125,000 and non-residential properties over £150,000.
Council Tax is the tax charged by municipalities. Like income tax, it’s banded according to various factors. A local council will decide how much to charge for Council Tax based on the value of properties within its jurisdiction. This can have a negative impact on individuals renting properties, who will be taxed the same amount as property owners.
Before you’re even able to pay taxes in the UK, you must have a national insurance (NI) number. If you have an NI number and are a full-time employee in a UK-based company, your NI contributions will be automatically deducted from your monthly pay.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax that was introduced to the UK in 1973. It is a tax applied to the price of many purchases, services, and other taxable supplies (you’ll often see ‘plus VAT’ or ‘including VAT’ when making online purchases). VAT is responsible for a third of all revenue collected by the UK government.
Tax in the USA
Taxation in the US is managed at both a federal and state level, with different states imposing different taxes. The federal government has no right to alter state taxes, and vice versa. It can get quite complicated when you consider that jurisdictions within a state can charge different taxes for things like schools.
The US is also the only country in the world where taxes are based not on where you live or work, but on your citizenship status. Basically, if you’re a US citizen living in France, for example, you will still be subject to US taxes.
Questions over whether or not the US should switch to a residency-based tax model have increased in recent years, but for now the US tax system remains an anomaly.
Income tax in the US is managed and collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you earn an income in the US, you will see income tax deductions on your monthly pay. Both the federal government and individual states will collect income tax, with the latter amount depending on which state you live in.
Property tax in the US is managed at a state level, so the amount you pay can vary considerably depending on the state you're taxed in.
The national average for property tax is around 1.1%, and you have to pay it annually. This is required regardless of whether or not the property is paid off, and even if the homeowner passes away.
If the latter happens, the local taxing authority will assess the tax due and issue a tax lien if it isn't paid. A tax lien is a legal claim against the property.
Needless to say, property tax in the US is one of the most unpopular systems.
Called Social Security in the US, this is a tax paid by both employers and employees. The current rate is 6.2% for both, totalling 12.4%.
These monthly payments go towards a number of social initiatives, including disability support, help for retirees and their families, and funding for the Social Security Administration.
There is no unified goods and sales tax in the US, with all of the 50 states levying different amounts. This is usually between 2.9%-7.25%, but you should note that some states charge an additional amount on top of this (though it’s never more than 1%-5%).
Tax in Canada
Canada’s taxation system is managed at three levels: federal, provincial and territorial, and municipal. The taxes collected are used by the Canadian government to fund a variety of programmes, including education, infrastructure, free healthcare at the point of use, and many other social initiatives.
Both the federal government and provincial governments levy an income tax on the total taxable income of an individual. At the federal level there is a personal allowance of CA$11,038, after which tax rates range from 15% to 29%.
Provincial tax rates range from 4% to 25.75%, where each province has its own progressive scale (except Alberta, which has a flat rate). Only half of a capital gain is counted as income – the other half is exempt.
Property taxes in Canada are levied at both a provincial and municipal level. The provincial level concerns property purchases, with the amount you pay on tax varying from province to province.
It’ll typically be around 1% on the first CA$200,000, and a further 2% on the final value of the property.
At the municipal level, property taxes are an annual tax based on the assessed value of a property. Residential properties are generally taxed at a lower level than non-residential properties.
Instead of National Insurance, Canada has the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI), both of which are automatically deducted from your monthly pay.
As of 2022, the CPP rate is 5.7% (contributed by employees and employers). With the CPP, you also need to factor in the Maximum Pensionable Earnings (MPE), which is the amount in which you can no longer make additional contributions to your pension.
In simple terms, once you earn over CA$64,900 (the current MPE limit for 2022), you can’t put more into your pension pot.
EI is a tax deducted from your monthly pay that goes towards supporting Canadian citizens who are out of work for various reasons. The temporary income support is designed to help the unemployed manage their bills and eventually get back into the workforce (if possible).
In Canada, the term VAT isn’t used – instead, you have the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is essentially the same thing. Just like VAT, GST affects purchases, services, and other taxable supplies, adding a fixed percentage onto their initial cost.
Certain things, such as basic food shopping, prescription medicine, childcare, health and dental services, and rent, are exempt from GST. Other things, such as most agricultural, livestock, and fishing products, are what’s known as “zero-rated”. This means they are subject to a sales tax, but the rate is 0%.
At the federal level, GST is levied at 5%, though provinces within Canada also often charge Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on top of this. It varies quite a bit; for example Ontario adds an extra 8% of PST onto products, services, etc., bringing the total tax up to 13% (with the extra 5% going to the government).
Many states choose to simplify GST and PST by combining them into a single Harmonised Sales Tax (HST).
Tax in Australia
All taxes in Australia are managed by the aptly named Australian Tax Office (ATO). They use a self-assessment system, so all individuals, companies, trusts, and other entities must report their tax returns by June 30th each year. Not doing so carries the obvious risk of being investigated by the ATO, and can result in a hefty fine (and sometimes imprisonment, if the offence is severe enough).
Like many other countries, income tax in Australia is progressive – the more you earn, the more you’ll pay.
An individual will be taxed according to their assessable income, which is income earned from salaries, dividends from shares, renting, etc., and what tax deductions are removed from their total income.
What these deductions mean for income tax is that they are removed from your total taxable income. So if someone earns $80,000 but has $10,000 allowed in tax deductions, the income they can be taxed on is $70,000.
Property in Australia is taxed at the state and council level, with taxes paid by property owners and not people renting a home. Like the UK, Australia uses a stamp duty tax that amounts to around 5% of a property’s total value after purchase.
When a property is purchased, there can sometimes be additional taxes for overseas investors buying property in Australia.
There is also a land tax in Australia, but a lot of residential properties are exempt, because most states in Australia provide a land tax exemption for primary homes or residences.
Council tax rates are different. These are taxes levied by local municipal governments, who use an assessment of a property’s value each year to determine the amount of taxation. For an ordinary Australian household, this amounts to around AUD$1,300 per year.
Australia charges a levy over a certain income, which is used to fund medicare (a form of health insurance). It is essentially a dedicated health tax.
The amount you pay in medicare levies is reduced if you have private health insurance. As of 2022, the medicare levy is 2% of your monthly income.
VAT is called Goods and Service Tax in Australia, and again, it’s functionally the same thing. The current GST rate is 10%, which is added to the cost of most purchases, services, and other taxable supplies.
Some exemptions to GST in Australia include basic foods, certain medical and healthcare services, and some educational courses.
Tax in the UAE
The oil-rich United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of just a handful of countries that impose no tax whatsoever on an individual's income.
It does, however, levy corporate tax on oil companies and foreign banks, with a tax also imposed on goods deemed harmful to human health (cigarettes and energy drinks, for example).
For residents and non-residents living in the UAE, there is no income tax whatsoever.
This has made working in the UAE an attractive prospect for many, especially as the salaries for foreign nationals are so high.
On average, an expat working in the UAE will earn USD$155,000 a year. Not too shabby!
When purchasing a property in the UAE, you must make a one-time payment of 4% of the property’s value. This is paid by both the seller and the buyer on the same day the property is sold.
For those renting property in the UAE, there is a 5% tax on the total amount of rent paid in a year. You’ll see this on your utility bill, and it’s only paid once annually.
Social security contributions in the UAE are only applicable to UAE nationals and members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). Foreign nationals working in the UAE do not have to pay anything, nor do their employers (if they have one).
VAT in the UAE is a flat 5% on most goods and services. It is the responsibility of the businesses providing taxable goods and services to collect these taxes on behalf of the UAE government.
Other establishments that may charge VAT in the UAE are hotels, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres.
Tax in Singapore
The personal allowance is SGD 20,000 after which the tax rate ranges from 2% to 20%.
Levied at 10% the expected rental income of a property but there are reductions if you occupy the property yourself (where rates are 0% to 6%). Stamp duty for buyers of property ranges from 1% to 3% of the purchase value.
A value added tax levied at 7% on most goods and services.
Tax in France
The tax system in France is generally quite complicated, with things like social security contributions, income tax, taxes on goods and services, and property taxes to keep track of.
They do have one of the world’s most generous social security systems though, which does of course mean contributions to it are quite high.
France only introduced a PAYE (pay-as-you-earn) system in 2019. Before that, all income tax had to be declared, which is about as fun as it sounds. Now, income tax is automatically deducted from your monthly salary.
It’s still a little bit complicated though, as how much income tax you pay isn’t just determined by your income. It actually changes depending on whether you’re married or single, whether you have kids or not, and whether you’re self-employed.
Like income tax, property tax in France is a headache, with the French apparently having a taste for making these processes as complicated as possible.
If you purchase an older property (anything older than 15 years), you’ll pay between 7-10% of the property’s value in tax. For new builds, this rate is 2-3%.
The French pay social security contributions, but unlike in many other countries, there is no fixed amount. Instead, the cost is dependent on different benefits, including pensions and healthcare.
However, the average rate is 8.3% of an individual’s monthly income, which is amongst the highest social security rates in the world. However, for businesses and the self-employed, social security payments in France are tax deductible.
The French add a VAT rate of 20% on top of most goods, services, and other taxable supplies.
There you have it: a (relatively) brief overview of the tax systems in some of the most popular countries for expats. Hopefully we’ve cleared up a few of your burning tax questions. However, a guide like this will never be a suitable replacement for the information you can get from a country’s website.
If you’re serious about moving to a different country, it’s always a good idea to get your tax information directly from that country’s official government page.
Key tax terms to remember
When it comes to taxes, nothing is simple. This even includes the terminology – so to make things a little easier, we’re explaining a few key words you’ll see popping up every now and then:
Income tax – a tax on an individual's income.
Property tax – this is a tax on a property’s value, levied either at the point of sale or annually.
Levied/levy – the imposition or collection of a tax, e.g. a tax of 12% was levied on all apples.
Tax deductions – tax deductions are permitted reductions of your total taxable income, usually covering things like business expenses.
Tax lien – a tax lien is a legal claim that a government can make against a property if taxes due have not been paid.