Tax Rises in 20 EU States in 2015: Eurostat Report

The European Union statistics agency, Eurostat, has released new figures concerning member states’ tax revenue collections and their tax mixes for 2015.

As a ratio of GDP, in 2015 tax revenue (including net social contributions) accounted for 40 percent of GDP in the European Union (EU-28) and 41.4 percent of GDP in the euro area (EA-19). There was no change in the ratio since 2014 for the 28 EU member states but there was a nominal 0.1 percent fall among the EA-19.

Taxes on production and imports accounted for 13.6 percent of GDP and current taxes on income, wealth, etc., stood at 13 percent of GDP, up 0.1 percent. Social security taxes have fallen, by 0.2 percent, to 13.2 percent of GDP.

In 2015, the ratio of 2015 tax revenue to GDP was highest in Denmark and France (both 47.9 percent of GDP) and Belgium (47.5 percent); the lowest shares were recorded in Ireland (24.4 percent of GDP), Romania (28 percent), Bulgaria (29 percent), Lithuania (29.4 percent), Latvia (29.5 percent), and Switzerland (28.1 percent).

Between 2014 and 2015 decreases in the tax-to-GDP ratio were observed in seven member states (Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus, and Portugal) as well as Norway and Iceland. The tax burden declined substantially in both Ireland and Denmark, and marginally in Belgium, Malta, and Luxembourg.

Increases in the tax-to-GDP ratios were observed in twenty member states as well as Switzerland. In percentage points, the highest increases were recorded by Lithuania (1.5 percentage points), Estonia (1.3 percentage points), Slovakia (1.1 percentage points), and Switzerland (1.1 percentage points).

The report said tax revenue had recovered in most member states, stating that this can “at least partly be attributed to active revenue-raising measures in some member states, for example increases in the VAT rate, and the introduction of new taxes, such as bank and property taxes.” However, overall, the report found that direct taxes increased in 2015, while indirect taxes remained stable, and social contributions decreased.