by Kyle Pomerleau
Tax Foundation
June 23, 2014
Although the United States and most countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are known for having progressive tax systems that tax high-income earners more than low- or moderate-income earners, a large portion of the tax burden still falls on the average worker. Although a little more than half of the average U.S. wage earner’s payroll tax burden is paid by his or her employer, the worker ultimately pays this tax through lower take-home pay. The total tax burden faced by wage earners in the United States is 31.3 percent of their pre-tax earnings. In the absence of income and payroll taxes and the benefits they provide, the average worker would take home nearly $5,000 in additional annual income. The total tax burden faced by average U.S. workers is the 26th highest in the OECD, below the 34-country average of 36 percent.

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