Taxing Wages 2016

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This annual flagship publication provides details of taxes paid on wages in OECD countries.  It covers: personal income taxes and employee contributions paid by employees, social security contributions and payroll taxes paid by employers, and cash benefits received by in-work families. It illustrates how these taxes and benefits are calculated in each member country and examines how they have an impact on household incomes. The results also enable quantitative cross-country comparisons of labour cost levels and the overall tax and benefit position of single persons and families on different levels of earnings.

The publication shows the amounts of taxes and social security contributions levied and cash benefits received for eight different family types, which vary by a combination of household composition and household type.  It also presents: the resulting average and marginal tax rates (that is, the tax burden); the average tax rates (showing the part of gross wage earnings or total labour costs taken in tax and social security contributions, both before and after cash benefits); and the marginal tax rates (showing the part of a small increase of gross earnings or total labour costs that is paid in these levies).

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This chapter presents the main results of the analysis of the taxation of labour income across OECD member countries in 2015. Most emphasis is given to the tax wedge – a measure of the difference between labour costs to the employer and the corresponding net take-home pay of the employee – which is calculated by expressing the sum of personal income tax, employee plus employer social security contributions together with any payroll tax, minus benefits as a percentage of labour costs. The calculations also focus on the net personal average tax rate. This is the term used when the personal income tax and employee social security contributions net of cash benefits are expressed as a percentage of gross wage earnings. The analysis focuses in the single worker with no children on average earnings and makes a comparison with the single earner married couple with two children.

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