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5. (Tied) Japan

Highest income tax rate: 50%
Average 2010 income: $53,200

Japan is the only Asian country to make the list of the top 10. Its top tax rate of 50 percent is more than double Asia’s average rate of 23 percent.

The country’s highest income tax rate is broken into two parts with a marginal rate of 40 percent, which comes into effect at around $217,000, plus an additional 10 percent municipal tax. Social security taxes range from 0.6 percent for employment insurance to 5 percent for health insurance capped at $700 a month. With Japan’s rapidly aging society, those 40 and over are also required to pay a nursing care insurance of 0.8 percent, capped at $110 a month. Other notable taxes include capital gains for stock transactions at 20 percent.

Japan’s tax revenue is the fifth lowest among OECD members, and the country has been dealing with its growing debt problems. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda — Japan’s sixth leader in the past five years — has seen his popularity plummet in opinion polls after proposing plans to double the country’s sales taxto 10 percent in 2014. In 2011, the tax burden for all Japanese familiesincreased due to higher employee and employer social security contributions and a cut in tax allowances related to children, according to the OECD.

Pictured left: Ueno Station in Tokyo

Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images