We are often reminded that there are only two certainties in life: ‘death’ and ‘taxes’. While death remains the same in every country however, taxes range widely from country to country, and this is no different in Europe. Taxes in Europe are of course a fact of life just as they are anywhere else, but taxes in England for instance are very different from those in Macedonia.
As a quick demonstration of just how much the taxes vary in Europe, here we will look at the maximum income tax that can be charged across European countries. This maximum income rate means that when an individual earns above a certain amount, this is most that the government will charge (normally the percentage you are taxes increases as you move into higher salary bands). This is quite enlightening and demonstrates the great range of taxes in Europe:
50%: Austria, Belgium, UK
45%: Croatia, Germany, Italy, Spain
41%: France, Ireland, Slovenia
40%: Greece, Turkey
30%: Belarus, Cyprus
21%: Estonia, Lithuania
20%: Bosnia & Herzegovina
16%: Hungary, Romania
15%: Czech Republic, Ukraine
10%: Bulgaria, Macedonia
This is the income tax of those countries at their maximum rate, meaning that you are charged for simply earning a certain amount of money. Of course though it is all subject to change, and in some cases those countries that have lower in come tax may make up the difference elsewhere – with higher VAT or more taxes for local services. Normally this income tax will be deducted from the pay check of the individual so that in a sense they do not ‘miss’ it. On the other hand, those who are self
employed will normally have to efile a ‘tax return’ which will mean they must calculate their net profit – allowing for expenses and investments –at the end of each year themselves. This can be complicated, which is why it’s important to have the right tax software.
The higher taxes in Europe when compared to say the US are a result of most of Europe having more public services. For instance in the US residents pay health insurance premiums in order to use privatised hospitals, whereas most countries in Europe have state-owned medical facilities meaning that these are maintained by tax and in some cases a ‘National Insurance’. The variation across European taxes then also comes from the different political parties in power at any given time. At the same time these taxes go towards a range of other services – for instance benefits for those families that can’t afford to support themselves, funding for arts projects and business start ups, and military expenses. This reflects a more socialist nature in much of Europe when compared to the more capitalist USA and each has different advantages and weaknesses. Those countries that have more left wing parties in power will push towards higher taxes