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Tax Systems in European Union Countries


  • Isabelle Joumard


The tax-to-GDP ratio rose steadily in most EU countries up to the late 1990s, largely reflecting a sustained expansion of public sector commitments to welfare provision. Since the late 1990s, many EU countries have cut tax rates. However, the tax burden in the EU area remains much higher than in most other economies. The tax mix is also different, with high tax wedges on labour and a stronger reliance on consumption and environmentally-related taxes. Recent measures targeted at lowering the tax burden on labour, in particular at the lower end of the income scale, have had promising results in terms of employment growth, showing how tax design is an important influence on countries’ performances. While there is not much room for cutting taxes significantly without downsizing public spending, further rebalancing the tax burden away from labour could contribute to better employment performance. Greater reliance on property taxes, which are low by international standards, could be ... La pression fiscale a augmenté sensiblement jusqu’à la fin des années 90 dans la plupart des pays de l’Union européenne, reflétant notamment des engagements croissants du secteur public en matière de protection sociale. Depuis la fin des années 90, de nombreux pays de l’Union européenne ont abaissé leur taux d’imposition. Néanmoins, la charge fiscale dans la zone UE reste plus élevée que celle observée dans la plupart des autres économies. La répartition de la charge fiscale diffère aussi ; les revenus du travail sont lourdement taxés et les impôts sur la consommation et ceux dit “verts” représentent une part plus importante des recettes fiscales. Les mesures adoptées ces dernières années pour réduire la charge fiscale sur le travail, en particulier pour les personnes les plus faiblement rémunérées, ont eu des résultats prometteurs sur la création d’emplois, montrant combien le système fiscal peut influencer les performances économiques des pays. La marge de manœuvre pour réduire ...

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Joumard, 2001. "Tax Systems in European Union Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 301, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:301-en

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    European Union; fiscalité; politique fiscale; tax policy; taxation; Union européenne;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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