The Highest Corporation Taxes Around the World and the Main Drivers Behind them

While corporation tax rates are influenced by the country’s definition, there’s clearly a pattern with developing countries and emerging economies paying higher rates to sustain the country.

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The top five richest countries in the world’s corporation tax are relatively varied, with Luxemburg standing at 27.08%, Norway at 22%, Iceland at 20%, Switzerland at 18% and Ireland at 12.5%. It would appear that some countries’ cultures factor into how much tax they pay. For example, Scandinavian countries are proud to pay higher taxes to contribute to social welfare.

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On average, Africa has the highest corporation tax rate throughout the world’s continents at 28.45% and South America, the second highest with an average rate of 27.63%. However, Europe stands at the lowest rate of 20.27%. Does this contradict the claim that developed countries pay higher tax?

OECD explained that corporation tax plays a key part in government revenue. This is particularly true in developing countries, despite the global trend of falling rates since the 1980s. Let’s take a closer look at two continents, South America and Africa, paying the highest corporation tax rates in the world.

South America Has Most Countries In Highest Corporation Tax Top 10

According to data analysed, Brazil and Venezuela have the highest corporation tax at 34%, followed closely by Colombia at 33%, and Argentina at 30%, making South America the continent with the most countries in the top 10 who pay the highest corporation tax.

It is unclear whether South America, as an emerging continent, is charging higher taxes in order to raise government revenue or to benefit from businesses that are looking to expand internationally and enter new markets. According to research, South America is becoming a popular choice for business to enter, with strong trade links and an advantageous geographic location. Indeed, South America is a large continent where some countries are business friendly and others are harder to penetrate.

Africa: The Continent With The Highest Average Tax

Being the poorest continent in the world, Africa unsurprisingly has the highest average corporation tax at 28.45%. With the highest in this data being Zambia at 35% and the lowest being Libya and Madagascar at 20%, South Africa stands roughly in the middle at 28%, slightly above average for Africa overall. Does this mean that South Africa is the safest bet for business?

South Africa is one of Africa’s largest economies, with 54 diverse countries in terms of political stability, development, growth, and population. As South Africa has been a relatively slow growth area over the years, corporation tax dropped from 34.55% in 2012 to the current rate — but was this effective? GDP in South Africa has fluctuated quite dramatically since the 1960s. Business favours countries with political stability, which is something South Africa doesn’t currently have. Furthermore, South Africa’s government debt to GDP sits roughly in the middle of the continent’s countries — is this influencing their corporate tax rate?

Country Continent Tax (%)
Puerto Rico North America 37.5
Zambia Africa 35
Brazil South America 34
Venezuela South America 34
France Europe 33.3
Columbia South America 33
Morocco Africa 31
Japan Asia Pacific 30.62
Mexico North America 30
Argentina South America 30
Germany Europe 30
Australia Asia Pacific 30
Philippines Asia Pacific 30
Kenya Africa 30
Nigeria Africa 30
Congo Africa 30
Belgium Europe 29
Pakistan Asia Pacific 29
Sri Lanka Asia Pacific 28
New Zealand Asia Pacific 28
South Africa Africa 28
Luxembourg Europe 27.08
Chile South America 27
Canada North America 26.5
Algeria Africa 26
India Asia Pacific 25.17
Jamaica North America 25
Chile South America 25
Ecuador South America 25
Netherlands Europe 25
Spain Europe 25
Austria Europe 25
South Korea Asia Pacific 25
Bangladesh Asia Pacific 25
China Asia Pacific 25
Indonesia Asia Pacific 25
Zimbabwe Africa 25
Tunisia Africa 25
Greece Europe 24
Italy Europe 24
Malaysia Asia Pacific 24
Israel Middle East 23
Egypt Africa 22.5
Norway Europe 22
Denmark Europe 22
Turkey Europe 22
Sweden Europe 21.4
United States North America 21
Portugal Europe 21
Russia Europe 20
Finland Europe 20
Iceland Europe 20
Afghanistan Asia Pacific 20
Azerbaijan Asia Pacific 20
Kazakhstan Asia Pacific 20
Thailand Asia Pacific 20
Vietnam Asia Pacific 20
Cambodia Asia Pacific 20
Taiwan Asia Pacific 20
Saudi Arabia Middle East 20
Jordan Middle East 20
Yemen Middle East 20
Madagascar Africa 20
Libya Africa 20
Slovenia Europe 19
Czech Republic Europe 19
Poland Europe 19
United Kingdom Europe 19
Belarus Europe 18
Croatia Europe 18
Switzerland Europe 18
Ukraine Europe 18
Singapore Asia Pacific 17
Hong Kong Asia Pacific 16.5
Lithuania Europe 15
Georgia Asia Pacific 15
Maldives Asia Pacific 15
Kuwait Middle East 15
Iraq Middle East 15
Ireland Europe 12.5
Cyprus Europe 12.5
Bulgaria Europe 10
Qatar Middle East 10
Hungary Europe 9
Barbados North America 5.5

About The Author

Lucy Desai is a content writer at QuickBooks, a global company offering the world's leading accountancy software.

Sources:

https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/corporate-tax-rate

https://taxfoundation.org/corporate-tax-rates-around-the-world-2019/

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/

https://www.oecd.org/tax/corporate-tax-remains-a-key-revenue-source-despite-falling-rates-worldwide.htm

https://www.bizlatinhub.com/ease-doing-business-latin-america-summary/

https://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/overview

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG?locations=ZA

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14094760

http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/richest-countries-in-the-world/