I like this, subscribe to

# Tax-to-GDP Ratio: Meaning, Example and How to Improve

19 Jul, 2024

The tax-to-GDP ratio is a crucial indicator of a country’s fiscal health. It shows the relationship between the tax revenue collected by the government and the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Understanding this ratio helps us gauge how effectively a government is collecting taxes relative to its economic size.

This blog willl explain what the tax to GDP ratio is, its importance, how it works, and ways to improve it.

## What is Tax-to-GDP Ratio?

The tax-to-GDP ratio shows the percentage of a country’s total economic output (GDP) that comes from taxes collected by the government. In simple terms, it tells us how much of the country’s money the government collects in taxes.

Here’s how it works: Imagine the entire economy of a country is like a big pie. The GDP represents the whole pie, which includes everything the country produces and earns in a year. The taxes collected by the government are a slice of that pie. The tax to GDP-ratio shows how big that slice is compared to the whole pie.

For example, if a country has a GDP of \$1 trillion and the government collects \$100 billion in taxes, the tax-to-GDP ratio would be 10%. This means 10% of the country’s total economic output is collected as taxes.

This ratio helps us understand how well the government is collecting taxes and how much it has available to spend on public services like roads, schools, and healthcare.

## Tax to GDP Ratio in India

In India, the tax-to-GDP ratio measures how much the government collects in taxes compared to the country’s total economic output (GDP). Currently, India’s tax-to-GDP ratio is around 10-12%, which is considered low compared to many other countries.

A low tax-to-GDP ratio means the government has less money to spend on public services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure. One reason for this is that not everyone who should pay taxes actually does. There is a large informal economy in India where many businesses and individuals do not report their income or pay taxes.

To improve this ratio, India needs to bring more people and businesses into the tax system. Simplifying tax laws and making it easier to pay taxes can help with this. Reducing tax evasion by using technology and stricter enforcement is also important.

When the tax-to-GDP ratio is higher, the government has more resources to invest in the country’s development. This can lead to better public services, more jobs, and a stronger economy. Improving India’s tax-to-GDP ratio is crucial for the country’s growth and prosperity.

## How to Improve Tax-to-GDP Ratio

Improving the tax-to-GDP ratio means making sure the government collects more taxes than the country’s total economic output. Here are some simple ways to achieve this:

This means bringing more people and businesses into the tax system. When more people pay taxes, the government collects more money. One way to do this is by making sure everyone who earns above a certain amount files a tax return.

### Reduce Tax Evasion

Tax evasion happens when people or businesses don’t pay the taxes they owe. To reduce this, the government can use technology to track income and enforce tax laws more strictly. This makes it harder for people to hide their earnings.

### Simplify Tax Laws

Complicated tax laws can discourage people from paying taxes. By making tax rules easier to understand, more people will comply. For example, a simpler tax filing process can encourage more people to file their returns.

### Improve Tax Collection Efficiency

Using better technology and training tax officials can help the government collect taxes more efficiently. This means more money is collected without increasing the tax rates.

## Example of Tax to GDP Ratio

Let’s say a country has a GDP of \$1 trillion. This means the total value of everything produced and earned in the country in one year is \$1 trillion. Now, imagine the government collecting \$150 billion in taxes during the same year.

To find the tax-to-GDP ratio, we divide the total tax revenue by the GDP and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage:

Tax to GDP Ratio=Total Tax RevenueGDP100=150 billion1 trillion100=15%

So, the tax to GDP ratio in this example is 15%. This means the government collects 15% of the country’s total economic output as taxes. This ratio helps us understand how well the government is doing in collecting taxes and how much money it has to spend on public services and infrastructure.

## Factors Affecting Tax to GDP Ratio

Several factors can impact a country’s tax-to-GDP ratio. Here are some key ones:

### Economic Structure

Countries with large informal sectors, where businesses and workers operate outside official regulations, often have lower tax-to-GDP ratios. Many transactions in these sectors go unreported, leading to less tax revenue.

### Tax Policies

Effective and fair tax policies can boost tax collection. If tax rates are too high, people might try to avoid paying taxes. Balanced tax policies encourage compliance and increase revenue.

### Compliance Rates

Higher compliance rates mean more people and businesses are paying their taxes. Encouraging voluntary compliance through easier filing processes and good taxpayer services can improve the ratio.

Efficient tax administration, with well-trained staff and good technology, helps in collecting taxes more effectively. This reduces evasion and improves the overall collection process.

### Economic Growth

When the economy grows, incomes and profits increase, leading to higher tax revenues. A growing economy boosts the tax-to-GDP ratio as more wealth is generated and taxed.

### Government Initiatives

Programs and campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of paying taxes can also improve the ratio. When people understand how taxes fund public services, they are more likely to comply.

## How it Works

The tax-to-GDP ratio shows the percentage of a country’s total economic output (GDP) that comes from taxes collected by the government. To find this ratio, we divide the total tax revenue by the GDP and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

A higher tax to GDP ratio means the government is collecting taxes more efficiently, indicating a strong tax system. It shows that the government has more funds to spend on public services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

On the other hand, a lower tax-to-GDP ratio suggests that the government might not be collecting taxes as effectively as it could. This could be due to issues like tax evasion, a large informal economy, or complicated tax laws.

This ratio is important because it helps us understand how well the government is doing in collecting taxes and managing the economy.

## Conclusion

The tax-to-GDP ratio is a key indicator of a country’s fiscal health and economic policy effectiveness. By understanding and improving this ratio, we can ensure better funding for public services and infrastructure, ultimately leading to a stronger economy.

1. What is the ideal tax-to-GDP ratio?

Ans: There is no fixed ideal tax-to-GDP ratio, but many experts suggest that around 15-20% is healthy for developing countries to support public services and infrastructure.

2. Is a higher tax-to-GDP ratio always better?

Ans: Not always. While a higher ratio indicates better tax collection, it must be balanced with fair tax policies that do not overburden taxpayers.

3. Which country has the highest tax-to-GDP ratio?

Ans: Denmark often has one of the highest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world, typically over 45%, due to its comprehensive welfare system.

4. Why is India’s tax-to-GDP ratio so low?

Ans: India’s ratio is low due to a large informal economy, tax evasion, and complex tax laws that discourage full compliance.

5. Why is the tax-to-GDP ratio important?

Ans: It shows how effectively a government collects taxes, funds public services, and supports economic health and development.

written by

ZAHEER

### it’s time to grow your wealth

1+ Lac investors are growing their wealth with Stack.