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The way that countries tax their highest earners has become a controversial issue recently, with calls for a so-called “Buffet Tax” to hit the richest.If you earn a larger salary the unfortunate reality in most cases is you’re going to have to pay more taxes.
We’ve collected the data from all the EU countries to show you which ones have the meanest personal income tax on top earners.
To calculate this, we’ve taken the minimum amount you need to earn in order to be described as a top earner for tax purposes in each country. Then, we’ve deducted personal income tax. The lower the net amount, the tougher the tax.
What you see is that while tax rates may vary, the very definition of what is a “high earner” may have an even larger effect.
Maybe it’s time to start brushing up on your Slovakian…
For the purpose of ranking our EU countries, we sadly had to discard all of those that didn't have a structured system for personal income tax.
All of these are in Eastern Europe and all have low average incomes less taxation.
We thought we'd mention them here since their levels of taxation are also the lowest in the EU.
Overall, if wages were the same in every eurozone country, Czech Republic would be the best place to be a top earner have with a tax rate at a flat 15 per cent of personal income.
Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, Slovakia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Latvia also have flat tax rates ranging from 16 to 21 per cent.
The highest earning German's pay a substantial 45 per cent on their personal income tax.
However, the country's top tax band only includes those who earn more than €250,731 ($338,564). So the wealthiest German's would take home a minimum of €137,902 ($186,227).
Germany's second highest tax band is hit harder with salaries over €52,882 ($71,465) taxed 42 per cent in personal income tax.
According to the European Commission Spain's top earners, raking in €175,000 ($236,381) or more a year, are due to pay 45 per cent of their wages in personal income tax to the central government.
It's another steep rate, but it still leaves high earners with €96,250 ($129,987) which is probably just as well, since the Spanish also have to pay taxes to local government as well.
Italy sets the same top bracket as Greece, slapping maximum taxes on anyone with wages over €75,000 ($101,275). However, Italy also taxes its highest earners at a rate of 43 per cent higher than the Greeks, and ultimately resulting in a smaller net income for Italy's highest earners.
Compared to Finland, France's 40 per cent tax on its highest earners seems lovely (well, not quite).
However, the maximum tax bracket is much lower, at €69,783 ($94,240) meaning that some top earners towards the bottom of the category get a much rawer deal.
On the surface, Luxembourg appears to have one of the best tax rates in the EU, and if you're super wealthy it does.
With a personal income tax rate of just 39 per cent for its highest earners it's great if your earning a bundle. So, why is it in the top 10?
Well, it's top tax band starts at just €41,793 ($56,425) and if you happen to be at the bottom of that bracket, you'll take home €25,493 ($34,418).
Again, Cyprus has a low tax rate when compared to Northern and Western Europe but, like Luxembourg, its top earners are defined by a low amount.
The top tax bracket starts at €36,301 ($49,010). Again, it's great for the super-high earners, but if you earn €36,301 then you'll only be seeing €25,493 ($34,418).
Denmark's top earners aren't defined by an astonishingly high salary but are subject to an astonishingly high tax rate.
Danes earning over €52,393 ($70,733) will see under half of that money, as they face a personal income tax of 51.5 per cent via a combination of national an municipal tax.
With the highest rate of personal income tax in the EU, some top earning Swedes pay up to 57.5 per cent as a result of national and municipal taxes.
The maximum taxation bracket is again pretty low compared with some countries down the list at just €52,211 ($70,490).
The Belgian's have a high tax rate of 50 per cent and consider you a top earner if you bring in €34,330 ($46,349).
That means you take quite the hit if you fall at the bottom of that category and even really high earners can't escape with more than half of their wages.
Well, Slovenia taxes its richest at a rate of 41 per cent which isn't too bad compared to others on this list, but isn't brilliant either.
However, the thing that propels it to the top of the pile is that top earners are defined as those who make over €15,268 ($20,613).
That means that some of Slovenia's highest earners end up with under €10,000 ($13,501).
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