The tax-to-GDP ratio in 2015 continued to vary by 1 to 2 across the EU Member States

Taxes on production and imports main category in the EU

The overall tax-to-GDP ratio, meaning the sum of taxes and net social contributions as a percentage of GDP, stood at 40.0% in the European Union (EU) in 2015, stable compared with 2014. In the euro area, tax revenue accounted in 2015 for 41.4% of GDP, slightly down from 41.5% in 2014. This is the first time since its low point in 2010 that the tax-to-GDP ratio in both zones did not increase.

This information comes from an article issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Tax indicators are compiled in a harmonised framework based on the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010), enabling an accurate comparison of the tax systems and tax policies between EU Member States.

Highest tax-to-GDP ratio in France, Denmark and Belgium

The tax-to-GDP ratio varies significantly between Member States, with the highest share of taxes and social contributions in percentage of GDP in 2015 being recorded in France (47.9%) Denmark (47.6%) as well as Belgium (47.5%), followed by Austria (44.4%), Sweden (44.2%), Finland (44.1%) and Italy (43.5%). At the opposite end of the scale, Ireland (24.4% – see country note), Romania (28.0%), Bulgaria (29.0%), Lithuania (29.4%) and Latvia (29.5%) registered the lowest ratios.

Largest growth of tax-to-GDP ratio in Lithuania and Estonia

Compared with 2014, the tax-to-GDP ratio increased in 2015 in a majority of Member States, with the largest rises being observed in Lithuania (from 27.9% in 2014 to 29.4% in 2015) and Estonia (from 32.8% to 34.1%), ahead of Slovakia (from 31.3% to 32.4%), Hungary (from 38.3% to 39.2%) and Croatia (from 36.8% to 37.6%). In contrast, decreases were recorded in eight Member States, notably in Ireland (from 29.9% in 2014 to 24.4% in 2015 – see country note) and Denmark (from 50.3% to 47.6%).

Highest ratio of taxes on production and imports in Sweden, of taxes on income and wealth in Denmark and of net social contributions in France

Looking at the main tax categories, a clear diversity prevails across the EU Member States. In 2015, the share of taxes on production and imports was highest in Sweden (where they accounted for 22.1% of GDP), Croatia (19.7%) and Hungary (18.9%), while they were lowest in Ireland (8.9% – see country note), Germany and Slovakia (both 11.0%).

For taxes related to income and wealth, the highest share by far was registered in Denmark (30.4% of GDP), ahead of Sweden (18.4%), Belgium (16.7%) and Finland (16.6%). In contrast, Bulgaria (5.4%), Lithuania (5.5%) and Croatia (6.0%) recorded the lowest taxes on income and wealth as a percentage of GDP. Net social contributions accounted for a significant proportion of GDP in France (18.9%), Belgium (16.7%) and Germany (16.5%), while the lowest shares were observed in Denmark (1.0% of GDP) and Sweden (3.7%).

In 2015, taxes on production and imports made up the largest part of tax revenue in the EU (accounting for 13.6% of GDP), closely followed by net social contributions (13.2%) and taxes on income and wealth (13.0%). The ordering of tax categories was slightly different in the euro area. The largest part of tax revenue came from net social contributions (15.3%), ahead of taxes on production and imports (13.3%) and taxes on income and wealth (12.6%).