How Much Tax Do People Really Pay?

Too often considerations of the taxation system are focused on income taxes, or income related taxes like social insurance; a narrow perspective given the composition of taxation revenue received by the exchequer. Indeed, the oft-cited phrase ‘taxpayers’ is generally taken to mean income taxpayers rather than its more appropriate meaning of all those paying taxes – whether from income, expenditure or other contributions.

This paper examines how much tax people ‘really’ pay. It uses data from the most recent Household Budget Survey to bring together information on the total amount of direct (income tax and social insurance payments) and indirect (VAT, excise and levies) tax paid by people in the Republic of Ireland.

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