Ever feel overwhelmed by expenses? Costs for housing, groceries, and entertainment add up — not to mention the tax bill that comes every year. Canadians are responsible for both federal and provincial personal income tax — and you have more to consider if you’re self-employed. Businesses must pay corporate income tax each year. These taxes increase dramatically in Canada the more income you have, as Canada taxes citizens based on proportion. However, everything is relative. One country might have an astronomical tax rate yet cheap housing and living costs. Similarly, another country might have a lower tax rate but a low housing supply and expensive living costs. We’ll walk you through our popular list of countries by tax rate and answer some of your questions along the way. 

Which country has the highest tax rate?

The Ivory Coast is known for delicious dishes like Kedjenou chicken, along with impressive cashew, gold, and coffee production. 

The West African country has one of the strongest economies in the region — along with an astronomical tax rate of 60%. Businesses pay 25% in corporate income tax. 

This feels like a blow all around. High earners have to part with 60%, but minimum wage earners making $168 per month must pay the same rate. Even sales tax is higher than what Canadians are used to at 18%. 

Related Reading: The Important Role of Central Banks

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Where does Canada rank in taxes?

Canada’s tax reputation is generally seen as high. Our country ranks #25 in the world for highest taxes if we’re looking at the highest federal income bracket, 28 places higher than the US. Contrary to popular belief, you’ll pay the lion’s share of taxes if you’re a higher earner.

Recently, the Fraser Institute revealed research showing that the top 20% of Canadians pay 61.4% of Canada’s total personal income taxes. Still, middle- and lower-income Canadians still feel the heat of a 20.5% federal tax rate (on income between $53,359 to $106,717). 

So how much does that look like for the average citizen? Remember, Canadians pay different tax rates, depending on their income. Let’s look at some numbers below.

Canadian Tax Rates

Income Canadian Federal Income Tax Rate
$53,359 or less15%
$53,359 to $106,71720.5%
$106,717 to $165,43026%
$165,430 to $235,67529%

There’s an important caveat here. These tax rates don’t apply to your entire income, except in the lowest bracket. The tax rates instead apply to any amount of money you make past the lowest number on the range. 

For example, the lowest tax rate is 15% in federal personal income tax for people who make $53,359 or less. So you’re taxed at that rate up to $53,359. But any dollar you make past $53,359 and up to $106,717 is taxed at 20.5%. This is why they’re called “tax brackets” because each tier of income has a different rate.

But that’s just federal tax. You’re also responsible for provincial or territorial taxes depending on where you live in Canada. 

Province or TerritoryTax Rate (range, lowest to highest income bracket)
Newfoundland and Labrador8.7% to 21.8%
Nova Scotia8.79% to 21%
New Brunswick9.4% to 19.5%
Ontario5.05% to 13.16%
Quebec14% to 25.75%
Manitoba10.8%  to 17.4%
Alberta10% to 15%
Saskatchewan10.5% to 14.5%
British Columbia5,06% to 20.5%
Prince Edward Island9.8% to 16.7%
Yukon6.4% to 15%
Northwest Territories5.9% to 14.05%
Nunavut4% to 11.5%
See the full list of provincial tax rates and respective income brackets here.

Is Canada One of the Highest-Taxed Countries in the World?

Canada is ranked #25 out of 172 countries in the list of highest-taxed countries in the world. While Canada isn’t the highest taxed overall, we are within the upper third of the highest-taxed countries in the world.

Are taxes higher in Canada or USA?

Taxes are higher in Canada than in the USA. This might be confusing when you see that Canada’s personal income tax rate is 33%, while the United States’ is 37%, according to WiseVoter

However, these figures speak to higher income tax brackets. Experts assert that in some cases, the highest earners in the USA pay higher taxes than comparably higher earners in Canada. But when it comes to the normal average Joe, they will pay more taxes in Canada than in the USA. 

Canada also collects more in taxes per capita than the USA. The Canadian government received $14,693 from citizens in taxes in 2017, while the USA only received $11,365 from each citizen on average. 

Still, it’s important to note that taxes do go toward significant services in Canada that Americans can’t access — most notably, healthcare. Americans spend an average of $9,000 per year on healthcare — nearly double Canada’s $4,500. And most of the time, we just need to pull out our OHIP card for our visit at the doctor.

Not feeling Canada’s tax rates? Check out this list of countries by tax rate and you might reconsider. Even Europe feels unappealing after seeing Denmark’s whopping 46% tax rate — ouch!

Related Reading: Income Splitting Canada

List of Countries by Tax Rate

We’ll go by tax rates on the higher end since that’s what’s consistent with most publications. If you think Canada has high personal taxes, you should look at the many countries that rank higher in expensive income taxes on our list. Consider researching individual countries’ tax rates for different income brackets for the most relevant assessment of your personal situation. 

Countries with the Highest Personal Income Taxes

CountryPersonal Tax Rate
Ivory Coast60%
France, Germany, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom45%
South Africa45%
South Korea45%
United Kingdom45%
Papua New Guinea42%
Chile, Congo, Guinea, Ireland, Malawi, Mauritania, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda40%
Colombia, New Zealand39%
Morocco, Suriname38%
Ecuador, Namibia, United States37%
Algeria, Argentina, Cyprus, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Indonesia, Mexico35%
Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, Vietnam35%
Source: Trading Economics, 2022-2023 taxes by country

Countries with the lowest personal income taxes

CountryPersonal Tax Rate
Serbia, Romania, Mongolia, Macedonia, Libya, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina10%
Russia, Bolivia, Belarus13%
Sudan, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Mauritius, Iraq, Hungary, Hong Kong15%
Ukraine, Sri Lanka18%
Madagascar, Lithuania, Isle of Man, Georgia, Fiji, Estonia, Cambodia, Afghanistan20%
Czech Republic, Albania23%
Trinidad and Tobago, Slovakia, Panama, Myanmar, Lebanon, Laos, Honduras, Egypt, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Botswana, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Angola25%
Source: Trading Economics, 2022-2023 taxes by country

Countries with 0% personal income tax

Of course, you could avoid personal income tax altogether if you move to one of these countries:

CountryPersonal Income Tax
United Arab Emirates0%
Saudi Arabia0%
Cayman Islands0%
Source: Trading Economics, 2022-2023 taxes by country

Related Reading: Living Inheritance Canada

Which European country has the lowest taxes?

According to Trading Economics, the following European countries have the lowest tax rates (aside from the 0% countries we just listed!):

  • Montenegro (9%)
  • Serbia, Romania, Mongolia, Macedonia, Libya, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Bosnia & Herzegovina (10%)

What is the most tax-friendly country to live in?

Well, this is a loaded question. If you consider tax-friendly to be 0% income tax, you have a wealth of Middle Eastern and Caribbean countries to choose from. You could enjoy saving on the 0% income tax in the UAE, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Bahrain, and Qatar. Countries with 0% tax rates tend to have higher costs of living and sometimes political atmospheres Canadians might not be familiar with. You should assess cultural norms in the countries you’re considering before making a decision solely on taxes. 

If you’re interested in Europe, you might be dismayed at the high taxes in most countries. France, Italy, Greece, and especially Scandinavian countries like Finland and Denmark have some of the world’s highest tax rates. Still, Bulgaria and Montenegro are a few European countries with lower tax rates.

Read More: Canadian Retiring Abroad: What to Know

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