By Harry S. Margolis
With our income taxes due in a few days (except for those of us who always file on extension), a few tax facts are in order. These are courtesy of Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, both in Washington, DC:
The United States is one of the least taxed developed countries in the world as a percentage of gross domestic product, the measure of the nation's total economic output. Our taxes are a bit over 20% of GDP. Denmark tops the list at almost 50%. France pays a bit more than 40%, Germany about 35% and Switzerland about 30%. These figures are provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
On average, Americans pay 28% of their income on local, state and federal taxes. The top quintile (20%) pays about 30% of their income and the bottom quintile pays about 17% of their income in taxes. The quintiles break out as follows:
Lowest 20% 17.4%
Second 20% 21.2%
Middle 20% 25.2%
Fourth 20% 28.3%
Next 10% 29.5%
Next 4% 30.4%
Top 1% 29.0%
It's somewhat progressive, but could be more so. And of course, we know that the tax code could and should be a lot simpler, perhaps the one thing conservatives and liberals agree on. If only they could agree on how to do it!