Belgian workers remain the highest taxed in Europe, with a typical employee now working three days longer to pay the public purse than was the case five years ago, according to a statement released by the think tank New Direction on Tuesday.
The statement comes the day before Belgium meets its so-called "tax liberation day" on August 6, the point at which workers theoretically stop paying for the upkeep of the sate and begin to keep their own earnings.
According to figures calculated by the Institut economique Molinari (EIM) in Paris and the conservative think tank New Direction, a Belgian employee's real tax rate, including VAT, is now 59.6 percent compared to an EU average of 45.27 percent.
"Belgium's highly skilled and productive workers rank 8th in the EU in net salary, but taxes make them Europe's most expensive to hire," said James Rogers of the EIM. "If employers leave Belgium it's not because the workers are too expensive, but because their taxes and social charges are the highest in Europe."
According to the statement by EIM and New Direction, Belgium taxes labor at the highest rate in Europe. An employer in Belgium spends 2.31 eruos (3.09 U.S. dollars) for a typical worker to net 1 euro after taxes. (1 euro = 1.34 U.S. dollars)