Taxes are a hot topic now that the Panama Papers revealed big names who might potentially be guilty of money laundering and tax evasion. But which countries have the lowest tax rates in the world and how do they compare to the taxes we pay in the U.S.? Here, GET.com will show you the countries with the Top 5 Lowest Personal Income Tax Rates In The World for 2016. If you're not familiar with how taxes work, these numbers are basically the percentages that are levied straight on your income.
For most of the countries listed in this article, the tax rate is applied to the highest income bracket or the highest earning individuals in the country. Some of the tax rates for certain countries are a flat rate. If you're wondering where the U.S. stands in the tax game, then this might give you a better idea. But first, let's take a look at the lowest percentages of income tax rates in the world in descending order (highest to lowest).
5. Russia & Belarus
Russia's income tax rate is applicable to both residents and non-residents residing in Russia. The flat rate of 13% applies to all those residing in Russia.
Another country with a low income tax rate of 13% is Belarus. Similar to Russia, this flat rate applies to anyone who lives in Belarus.
In Macau, non-residents are taxed at the same rate as residents. The already low income tax rate of 12% only kicks in when you earn MOP424,000 (around $53,000) or more per year.
3. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mongolia, Macedonia, Kazakhstan, and Bulgaria
The low percentage of 10% for income tax in Bosnia and Herzegovina applies to both residents and non-residents. A resident is considered as somebody who has permanent residence or has been living in the country for a minimum period of 183 days, continually or with interruptions, during any 12-month period.
Mongolia is also another country with a low and flat tax rate of 10%. The rate applies to individuals as long as they are earning income during the tax year.
In Macedonia, income tax is applicable to a resident's worldwide income. A non-resident will only have to pay tax on income earned in Macedonia. Regardless of the amount they earn, everyone residing in Macedonia pays a flat tax rate of 10%.
Similarly to Macedonia, Kazakhstan residents are subjected to a flat income tax rate of 10% on their worldwide income. Non-residents are only subject to the same income tax on their income made in Kazakhstan.
Income tax in Bulgaria is at an annual flat rate of 10%. Some residents might even be entitled to a tax-free allowance, which is dependent on their personal circumstances.
Guatemala exercises progressive income tax rates. Residents in Guatemala earning GTQ300,001 or above per year, are subjected to a 7% income tax on any income earned in Guatemala.
1. Bahamas, Bahrain, Cayman Islands, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates
Finally, the lowest personal income tax rate is at 0%. Yes, this does exist! With a non-existing tax rate, it simply means that your money is yours to keep. It's one of the reasons why people with high income may want to move to these countries, which are otherwise known as tax havens. Of course, these countries are also extremely expensive to live in, so as always, there's a flip side to low/no taxes.
U.S. Tax Rates
In the U.S., the tax rate goes up to 55.9% making it one of the highest ranking countries for personal income tax in the world. This percentage includes the 39.6% Federal tax, 13.3% State tax and 3% Local tax.
This tax rate applies to married couples that earn $464,850 per year and above, and are filing jointly, it also applies to certain surviving spouses. The rate also applies to qualified heads of households who earn $439,000 per year and above. For singles, unmarried individuals or married individuals filing separately, this rate kicks in if they earn $232,425 or more per year.
Other developed countries with high income tax rates, like Canada and Australia with an income tax rate of 49%, don't fall too far short. Then there are also countries like France and the United Kingdom with an income tax rate of 45%, which could potentially cost more compared to the U.S. simply because of the difference in currency.
It's also worth remembering that the U.S. tax rates are progressive, so not everybody is going to have to pay the full 55.9%. You pay according to what you earn. Before you begin panicking, check out these 8 Steps To Getting Rid Of Money Worries so you'll feel better about yourself. While you're at it, here's a guide on 529 Plans And Tax Savings that could potentially help you this tax season.