Australian Government CrestInternational Comparison of Taxes

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1. Introduction and methodology

1.1 Broad context

The comparison of countries’ taxation regimes is a challenging task, and caution is advised when making even simple comparisons between countries, as there are many factors which affect the reliability of any comparison.

While there may be challenges in making robust comparisons between countries for either tax burdens in aggregate, or in relation to specific tax bases, the value and reliability of these comparisons is significantly enhanced when a comparison is made between similar industrialised countries.

It is unlikely any other country’s tax system would provide Australia with a better ‘off-the-shelf’ model for its tax system. Each country’s tax system reflects the interplay of numerous economic, social, political, cultural and historical factors that may not be relevant to the design of Australia’s tax system.

More specifically, key differences in tax systems between individual countries can be driven by variations in social structures and the values and expectations of its citizens — particularly with respect to equity or fairness, the degree of development of the economy, the extent to which the economy is integrated into the world economy, and differences in delivery mechanisms for achieving social policy objectives.

The aim of this report is to provide reliable information on the taxation arrangements applying in Australia and other countries. The hope is that this will highlight the important features of Australia’s taxation arrangements and help inform discussion about Australia’s tax system.

This study has been an opportunity to report on a broad range of policy settings from around the world. In doing so, a large amount of information was collected, synthesised and analysed. International trends have been highlighted where relevant, but no policy recommendations have been made with respect to Australia’s tax system.


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