Spaniards bear a tax burden of 39.3%, two points less than in Europe

Spaniards bear a tax burden of 39.3%, two points less than in Europe

J. Alemany

Spain grants less aid than the European average to families with children, who pay 33.8% of their income in taxes, four points more than neighboring countries

Edurne Martinez

Spaniards paid 39.3% of their income in taxes in 2021, which represents an increase in tax pressure of 0.3 points in just one year, according to the 'Taxing Wages' report published this Tuesday by the OECD . This taxation is almost five points above the average of the 38 countries that make up the organization, which stood at 34.6% in 2021, the same as the previous year.

However, it represents a fiscal gap of two points with the European average, which stood at 41.3% in 2021. The report data reveals that Spain occupies the 16th position with the highest fiscal pressure, the same as it had in 2020. The countries that lead the table are Belgium (52.6%), Germany (48.1%), Austria (47.8%), France (47%) and Italy (46.5%). Above 40% is also Portugal (41.8%).

Therefore, Spaniards pay almost ten points less in income taxes than other neighboring countries such as Germany or France, and even Italy or Portugal, although they have more similar rates. In our country, the sum of income tax and business contributions to Social Security account for 88% of the total tax burden, reveals the report, compared to 77% of the average for the OECD as a whole.

Tax benefits for families

On the other hand, Spain does not help families with children to the same extent as its European partners. The data confirm that Spaniards with two children pay 33.8% of their income in taxes, almost ten points above the OECD average (24.6%) but also four points more than Europe, whose average was by 29.9% in 2021 thanks to the transfers or reductions in personal income tax that the countries paid to these families.

The OECD points out that the tax pressure for a worker with children is usually less in all countries than for one without children even if they have the same income, since most "provide benefits to families with children" through transfers or aid tax. In this sense, it reveals that Spain ranks 8th in the highest tax burden in the OECD for a married worker with two children, the same position it had in 2020.

Changes since 2000

In the last 20 years the economic situation has changed completely, and with it the fiscal one. The published data shows that the tax burden increased in Spain by 0.7 points from 2000 to 2021, from 38.6% to 39.3%, taking the average single worker as an example. During this same period, the OECD tax burden more than doubled, by 1.6 percentage points, from 36.2% to 34.6%.

And if the situation since 2009 is taken into account, tax pressure increased by one point in Spain, while in the OECD average it remained the same despite the rise it experienced in 2013.

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