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January 2001     Vol. 2, no. 1

Recent trends in taxes internationally

Zhengxi Lin

  • In 1997, Canada's overall taxation ranked in the middle of the G-7 countries and the 29 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Between 1980 and 1997, Canada's total tax-to-GDP ratio increased by 4.8 percentage points (from 32.0% to 36.8%) or 15.0%.
  • Over the same period, Canada's personal tax revenues as a percentage of GDP went up by 3.1 percentage points (from 10.9% to 14.0%) or 28.4%. This was the second largest increase among the 4 G-7 countries whose personal tax-to-GDP ratio had risen-smaller only than that of Italy.
  • Canada had the smallest increase in corporate taxation between 1980 and 1997 among the 4 G-7 countries for which the ratio rose, as well as among 19 comparable OECD countries. Canada's corporate tax revenues as a percentage of GDP went up by only 0.1 percentage point (from 3.7% to 3.8%) or 2.7%.
  • From 1980 to 1997, Canada's total payroll tax revenues as a percentage of GDP increased by 2.3 percentage points or 67.6%. This tied with Germany for the third largest percentage-point increase among the 6 G-7 countries for which the tax ratio had increased. Of the G-7, payroll taxation decreased only in the United Kingdom.
  • Canada's property tax revenues as a percentage of GDP went up by 0.8 percentage points (from 2.9% to 3.7%) or 27.6% during this period. This is the second smallest increase in the 5 G-7 countries whose tax ratio had increased, but in the middle of 17 relevant OECD member states.
  • From 1980 to 1997, the consumption tax-to-GDP ratio rose in Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan, decreased in Canada and France, and remained unchanged in Germany and the United States. Canada's consumption tax revenues as a percentage of GDP decreased by 1.4 percentage points (from 10.4% to 9.0%) or 13.5%.


Zhengxi Lin is with the Labour and Household Surveys Analysis Division. He can be reached at (613) 951-0830 or

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