America Annemie

Middle class people bearing the brunt of taxation

A fresh report from the OECD, the club of the world's richest nations, criticises the tax burden on Belgium's middle classes.  In Belgium, the OECD report writes, the middle classes pay the lion's share of all taxation.  Over three-quarters of all taxes are paid by middle class people (in the British sense of the word).

In Belgium the middle classes pay 76% of all tax revenue.  But it's not all bad news.  Belgian middle class people are paying such a large share of taxation because there are so many of them.  In other words in Belgium more people are doing well and are classified as middle class than elsewhere.

The figures on which the OECD based its report date from before the government’s recent tax shift.  Under the tax shift taxes on income from labour were reduced and increased on income from capital and consumption.  More recent figures should show a slightly different picture.

The report "Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class" warns that Belgium's middle class are experiencing difficulty maintaining their standard of living as they struggle to keep up with rising housing and education costs.

Young people, the report argues, are having a harder time joining the middle classes. In many countries the middle classes have shrunk. The report argues for governments to do more to support the middle classes.  Authorities should do more to improve access to certain public services and stimulate affordable housing.