Belgium drops down to 3rd on list of most heavily taxed EU countries

A study on “Tax Burden of Typical Workers in the EU-28 2018” was released today by the Institut Économique Molinari.

Belgium drops down from second to third on the list of countries most heavily taxed in Europe and gains 10 days of TAX freedom with respect to 2017, where the Tax Liberation Day for workers was July 27th. Among the EU-28, Belgium is behind Austria (July 18th, unchanged from 2017), and France (July 27th, gaining two freedom days).

Belgium taxes 2018
2018’s Tax Liberation Days

Key findings – Belgium

  • After being the most expensive employees in the EU for several years, Belgians are now the 4th-most expensive to hire (after Luxembourgers, Austrians and the Dutch) – yet Belgians still rank 11th in take-home pay.
  • An employer in Belgium now spends 2.04€ for a typical worker to net 1€ after taxes – down from a peak of 2.34€ in 2013.
  • The Belgian government collects 29,233€ from a typical Belgian worker’s wages – still among the 3 highest figures in Europe, yet it does not deliver services at this level. Among EU countries, Belgium ranks:

– 6th in the 2017 Health Consumer Powerhouse rankings of health care systems

– 11th in reading, 9th in Science, and 6th in mathematics in the OECD’s PISA rankings of educational systems

– 9th in the 2018 United Nations’ World Happiness Report


Taxes EU 2018
Source: Institut Économique Molinari

“The ‘tax shift’ is having a noticeable impact on the Belgian economy: unemployment is down, and there is greater flexibility in the labour market. However, it is Belgian employers who are seeing the primary benefit – Belgians workers should hope for the same in the coming years,” said James Rogers, research fellow at the Institut Économique Molinari.

The study, by James Rogers and Cecile Philippe of the Institut Économique Molinari, uses OECD and national statistics office salary figures for as a baseline.

Good to know:

“Tax Liberation Day” is the calendar day on which a worker theoretically stops working to pay taxes to the state and begins to keep his/her earnings. The data in the calendar reflect the reality experienced by real, working people in the European Union and the true cost of hiring employees in each state.