×

Sorry, President Trump, the US is not the 'highest taxed nation in the world'

He's said it before, and he'll likely say it again. But repetition doesn't make it true.

Taking a break from an Oval Office meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to speak with reporters, President Donald Trump repeated one of his favorite campaign claims: that Americans pay more in taxes than any other country.

"The people of this country want tax cuts," he said. "They want lower taxes; we're the highest taxed nation in the world."

The assertion echoed a Twitter message last month, repeating a false claim Trump made during the presidential election campaign.

"We are the highest taxed nation in the world — that will change," he tweeted in September.

In fact, the U.S. ranks in the middle of the pack when compared with the roughly three dozen developed countries tracked by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

American taxpayers paid a little less than $14,800 each in combined taxes in 2015, the latest data available. That compares with the average OECD rate of about $13,800. The most heavily taxed on a per capita basis was Luxembourg ($42,700 per person), followed by Norway ($30,100) and Denmark ($24,500).

Taxes per capita were lowest in Turkey ($2,800 per person), Chile ($2,800), and Latvia ($3,900).

There are other ways to measure the tax burden from one country to another. As a share of the size of the overall economy, the U.S. ranks even lower on the list.

In 2015, the total tax paid by Americans represented 25.9 percent of overall gross domestic product, the fourth from the bottom of the list of OECD countries. Mexicans paid the least, at just 15.2 percent of GDP.

The biggest tax burdens were in Denmark (49.6 percent of GDP), France (45.5 percent) and Belgium (45.0 percent).

CNBC NEWSLETTERS

Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

Please choose a subscription

Please enter a valid email address
Get these newsletters delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and service. Privacy Policy.