OECD: Australia's Tax Burden Is Rising Faster Than The Global Average

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The tax burden in Australia has increased by one percentage point to 27.3% from from 26.3% over the past year, according to the OECD 2014 Annual Revenue Statistics report.

This compares to the OECD average which was an increase of 0.4 percentage points 33.7%.

However, the tax burden in Australia is still less than in 2000 when it was 30.4%. Over the same period, the OECD average fell from 34.3% to 33.7%.

Australia ranks 28th out of 34 member countries in terms of the tax-to-GDP ratio in 2012, the latest year for which tax revenue data is available for all OECD countries.

The structure of tax receipts in Australia compared with the OECD average is characterised by higher revenues from taxes on personal income, corporate income and property. And Australia has a lower proportion of revenues from taxes on goods and services.

Australia Vs OECD average

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry says the OECD figures show a need for comprehensive tax reform to improve efficiency and strengthen the economy.

John Osborn, ACCI Director of Economics and Industry Policy, says Australia’s reliance on company taxes is more than double the OECD average and is a drag on competitiveness and job creation.

“The numbers show a tax mix in Australia perilously dependent on higher revenues from taxes on personal income, company and property taxes with a lower reliance on more efficient consumption taxes like the GST,” he says.

The OECD’s biennial Consumption Tax Trends report found that GST revenues in Australia accounted for 12.1% of total tax revenue in 2012, the second lowest proportion in the OECD after Japan and considerably below the OECD average of 19.5%.

Australia has not changed its standard GST rate since its introduction in 2000. Twenty OECD countries have raised their standard consumption tax rate at least once in the last five years.

The tax burden over time. Source: OECD

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