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INFOGRAPHIC: Surprise! Americans Pay Higher Taxes Than We Know

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Stephen Gordon, an economist at l'Université Laval in Quebec City, surprised readers of the Worthwhile Canadian Initiative blog last week with a few tax compasses he created using OECD data.

He charted:

1. OECD corporate and consumption taxes

2. Marginal tax rates

3. "All-in" personal income tax rates

4. Employer social security contributions

Here's a sneak peek at the most surprising of these -- Number 3. Canada's position is highlighted in red. The USA ranks...wait for it... higher!

How can it be?

What Gordon's compass takes into account are the government levies usually forgotten during tax rate debates. Most of us stay focused on the tax rate and only the tax rate, but Americans also pay indirectly for higher corporate taxes and relatively high payroll taxes.

So, while a VAT or GST levy may seem like a burden -- Canadians and Europeans pay the extra fee every time they buy something -- America's high corporate tax rate is also passed on to consumers, only this time via higher prices, which are hidden.

The good news? At least we're not Denmark.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.