The sluggish financial climate has made headlines across the world in these last few years and we have heard many stories regarding private individuals and corporations that have sought to protect their money by moving it abroad to nations that are considered attractive tax havens. While the number of such countries may be shrinking, it is also important to recognise some of the most oppressive tax nations of the world. Let us briefly examine the top ten countries that have gained this notoriety.
One of the main focuses of Francois Hollande’s election campaign was the promise to temporarily raise corporate income tax to a staggering seventy-five percent. Although this proposal was struck down in French government, average citizens have suffered from increased income tax levels and less banking privacy. Some analysts feel that this trend will continue into the foreseeable future.
The ironic aspect regarding Hungary is that many may be unaware that this country is even part of the European Union. However, their citizens are feeling the bite of the regional crisis; the levels of their value added tax have been increased to twenty-five percent and may increase further.
Belgium is unique in its approach to taxation issues. Its citizens pay a great deal of VAT on their income, yet the entertainment industry receives up to a one-hundred and fifty percent tax break on everything from motion pictures to animated pieces. Perhaps this is the reason why French actor Gerard Depardieu has recently requested asylum here.
One of the reasons that The Netherlands is considered the fifth-most oppressive tax country is due to the fact that individual entrepreneurs are liable for up to sixty percent tax on their earnings. If we then compare this to a mere thirty-five percent for corporations, it is no wonder why so many residents of this country have travelled abroad to find more agreeable conditions.
This European powerhouse has been become known in recent times for providing very real economic support for the rest of the European Union. This should come as no surprise, for a sizable portion of this liquidity is provided by the citizens themselves. The incremented income tax rate reaches as high as forty-five percent while residents are required to pay an additional 5.5 percent surcharge on top of this nominal figure.
Mexico is in a unique position, for a mere 8.8 percent of its gross domestic product is derived from income tax. This is approximately half of the tax levied on residents of more developed nations. Poverty is rampant in many smaller regions and due to the profound effect that the economic crisis has had here, many analysts believe that personal income taxes will continue to rise along with a concurrent increase in transparency in regards to any foreign investments.
One of the main issues with Poland is the fact that only a minimal financial amount of privacy is available. In fact, this was the case back in 2009 and since the implementation of more stringent international regulations, this country now holds little attraction in regards to investors wishing the move their money abroad.
The standard income tax rates vary between fifteen and thirty-five percent for most citizens here; a rather nominal surcharge. Corporations are charged a flat rate of twenty percent. While this may appear attractive, internal political arguments and tighter regulations have caused Turkey to rise to the number two spot in the list of most oppressive tax nations.
Residents of Italy are required to pay a standard forty-three percent tax rate while corporations are obliged to pay an agreeably less thirty-one percent. However, regional taxes are not included in these figures and individuals are increasingly burdened by such financial restrictions. This has earned Italy the number one spot on this brief list.