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29 February 2012updated 22 Oct 2020 3:55pm

Chart of the day: the highest income tax rates

How would a top rate of 75 per cent in France compare with other countries?

By George Eaton

With François Hollande promising to introduce a top income tax rate of 75 per cent if elected as French president, now is an apt time to look at the world’s top tax rates. As the chart below shows, Hollande’s proposed rate for incomes over €1 million would dwarf even that of Sweden (56.6 per cent).


The UK’s top rate of tax has been 50 per cent since 2010 (it was previously raised from 40 to 45 per cent in 2009), the joint fourth-highest in the world, prompting howls of anguish from the right. Yet 50 per cent is far from the top rate of 83 per cent (98 per cent on unearned income) seen under Jim Callaghan. Even Margaret Thatcher managed to live with a top rate of 60 per cent for nine years of her premiership (it was reduced to 40 per cent in Nigel Lawson’s famous 1988 Budget).

Mercifully for the super-rich, however, Ed Miliband has already indicated that he won’t be following Hollande’s lead on tax.

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