VILNIUS - According to a report issued last week by Eurostat, Lithuania had the lowest overall tax burden in the Baltic states and one of the lowest in the EU25 as of 2002.
The overall tax burden rate, defined as the total amount of taxes and compulsory actual social security contributions as a percentage of gross domestic product, was 28.8 percent in Lithuania, 31.1 percent in Latvia and 35.2 percent in Estonia for that year.
In the 10 new member states the tax-to-GDP ratio was lower in 2002 than the EU15 average (40.5 percent), ranging from 28.8 percent in Lithuania to 39.8 percent in Slovenia.
The overall tax burden in the 25 countries decreased from 41.1 percent in 2001 to 40.4 percent in 2002, largely due to the inclusion of the 10 new member states (and Norway) in the study.
Sweden recorded the highest overall tax burden (50.6 percent), followed by Denmark (48.9 percent), Belgium (46.6 percent) and Finland (45.9 percent). The lowest ratios were recorded in Ireland (28.6 percent), Lithuania (28.8 percent), Latvia and Malta (31.3 percent each) and Cyprus (32.5 percent).
A look at the varying taxes and their share in total tax revenues shows that the new EU members generally have a lower share of direct taxes in relation to total tax revenues and a higher share of indirect taxes and social security contributions.