Tax income soars.

Britain’s tax take from personal and corporate taxes has risen substantially as new figures show an all-time high in tax revenues across the developed world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Reversing a declining trend from 1990 to 1996, the OECD average in tax take increased from 13.2% in 1997 to 13.5% in 1998. From 1997 to 1998, 17 of the 29 OECD countries saw a rise in the share of these taxes in gross domestic product.

The UK’s total tax revenue as percentage of GDP rose from 33.3% in 1993 to 36.6% in 1999 with its highest level at 37.2% in 1998.

Frank Haskew, technical manager at the English ICA’s tax faculty, said the figures ‘hid a lot of detail’. ‘The UK should be looking at where we are out of line and take steps to rectify it, so it remains competitive on the worldwide market.

‘The UK is within the OECD norms, but as far as complexity (of structure) the UK is high up and things like this aren’t measured in these analyses,’ he said.

The increase in revenues from income taxes was the main factor behind an increase in the OECD average ratio of total tax revenue to GDP from 36.8% in 1996 and 1997 to 37.0% in 1998, according to its report, Revenue Statistics.

Strong economic growth in most OECD member states increased revenues from most taxes. Revenues from personal and corporate income taxes are particularly influenced by the growth, according to the organisation’s annual analysis.

Government revenues however receive only a minor contribution to their intake from environmentally related taxes.

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