A national tax myth debunked - Ireland is a very low tax country

ONE of the excuses graduates offer for fleeing to faraway places is that we live in a high-tax country.

They insist they could not afford to live here. Like so many of the national myths we so fervently cling to, this one has been, once again, shown for the bunkum it is. This fantasy has been dismissed by the latest OECD report which shows that this Emerald Isle is among the least taxed developed countries.

In a league table of 34, we rank seventh lowest on the taxes levied on single workers. The 27.5% taken from an Irish single worker pales into insignificance when compared to the 55.3% rate in Belgium. Families do well too. A married worker with children, earning something around an average wage, pays the third lowest tax bill of the 34 countries surveyed.

Our 9.5% tax wedge is a quarter of the French levy at 40.5% and is far, far lower than the 26.3% paid in Britain or the 20.7% paid in the US.

As well as challenging the disingenuous narrative used to undermine every government we elect, this reality raises several questions: Why do we keep making the false high-tax argument? Why do we expect our under-funded public services to be any better than they are? Why do so many well educated young people really jump ship? Would we re-elect a government that taxed us more to improve services? And, almost most of all, why do we refuse to accept the reality outlined by the OECD? Are we really that delusional?

More on this topic

EU begin probe into IKEA taxation model in HollandEU begin probe into IKEA taxation model in Holland

Corporations must accept that a fair share of profits is the right price to payCorporations must accept that a fair share of profits is the right price to pay

Oxfam claims profits shifted through Ireland hurt developing countriesOxfam claims profits shifted through Ireland hurt developing countries

EU launches tax evasion crackdownEU launches tax evasion crackdown


Another episode, another incredible Cork woman. The tale of Mother Jones, the famous union organiser and activist against child labour in 19th century America.Five things for the week ahead: RTÉ showcase another incredible Cork woman

Holger Smyth part-owns and runs Inanna Rare Books, which has recently opened a ‘rare book lounge’ at the former Hawthorn creamery near Drimoleague, Co Cork.We sell books: Cream of the book crop sold from former co-op

Milton Jones talks hecklers, Hawaiian shirts and the world’s favourite clever Irishman with Richard FitzpatrickMilton Jones: When one line will do just fine

After almost 70 years of trying the search goes on, but so far nothing has been found.Sky Matters: Whether we are alone in the Universe has exercised many great minds

More From The Irish Examiner