Only two things in this world are certain, death, and taxes. Obviously I didn’t coin this phrase, but never the less it is quite true. Being a United States citizen we are used to paying our fair share of taxes, and the piece of the tax pie might get larger depending on who is in the Oval office come January. However, many other countries face similar tax woes as us.
Many of you might be surprised to realize that while the United States tax rate for corporations is quite high, in comparison to the rest of the world we don’t pay squat in personal income tax. Consider countries like Belgium, Germany, and France who are paying upwards of 50% of income for personal taxes. That being said, Germany has perhaps the healthiest economy today and might have been one of the few countries to weather the economic fallout as well as they did. Canada is even located just north of us and they have a much higher personal tax rate as well. Most of these taxes go to paying for benefits for their citizens. Their medical system is nationalized where we have a more privatized system here in the United States.
Regardless of how the tax system works in your country, or what our individual tax rate is, we all have the same task of paying our annual tax bill. If we plan correctly most of us should owe zero dollars, and receive zero dollars at the end of every year. This of course isn’t always the case. Keeping adequate tax records can also be burdensome. You need to collect statements from your various bank accounts, keeping independent employment records, unemployment wages, and W-2’s from all of your employers. I have records going back over a decade, they are annoying and take up space, but they are a necessity in case I am ever audited.
This was just a quick rundown on how taxation works in other countries. Perhaps the next time we feel the need to complain about the taxes in our own country, we should remember the tax rates of our European friends. They may be provided more services, but then again, they don’t have the freedom and choices that we do. That being said, I reiterate yet again, the only two certainties in this world truly are death and taxes.