The tropical island nation of Aruba is a very nice place to live: white sandy beaches, clear ocean water, and the highest per capita income in the Caribbean. But while the country earned a mention in the Beach Boys’ 1988 hit “Kokomo,” the song didn’t mention that Aruba has the highest income tax rate in the world. Technically a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Arubans are taxed at 58.95 percent.
The idyllic Scandinavian nation has the highest taxes in all of Europe, with an income tax rate of 56.6 percent. (That’s made up for at least by the fact that some things aren’t taxed in Sweden, such as the sale of residential real estate.) Scandinavia is an expensive place to live—Sweden’s southern neighbor Denmark’s taxes are almost as high, at 55.38. Finland isn’t much better, with 49 percent rate for those earning more than the equivalent of $87,000 a year. The Finnish government does spend way more infrastructure than other Western nations, pouring billions into its schools and boasting the highest paid teachers in the world.)
Only the really wealthy Britons pay a significant tax. Those who earn more than the equivalent of $230,000 a year face an income tax rate of 50 percent. But anybody earning less than $14,000 equivalent don’t pay income tax at all.
To lure huge multinational companies to establish operations there, the Irish government instituted a very low 12.5 percent corporate income tax. Regular people, however, wind up paying about 48 percent.
So, where does the U.S. figure into all of this? While the personal income tax rate can climb as high as 36 percent, the average American taxpayer turns over about 10 percent of their income to the federal government each year.