Pakistan has a population of 180,000,000 but only 270,000 pay taxes, according to an article entitled ‘Plugging Leaks, Poking Holes’ in the latest issue of The Economist.
Iceland, with a population of only 330,000, has just as many, or 261,764 taxpayers, according to the Icelandic Directorate Of Internal Revenue.
I think it is rooted in the Nordic mindset to pay taxes. That’s how we have built up the welfare states over the last half a century.
World class healthcare, for all. Free education.
The way we look at taxes in the northern part of Europe is very different to in the southern part of the continent.
Just take a look at Greece. The economic crisis has only deepened since 2008. Part of the problem is that, especially the well-off, use every trick in the book to avoid paying taxes.
This is the fundamental difference in Europe.
Those who are against Iceland joining the EU are pointing fingers at Greece, saying this is what will happen if we join.
Instead they should look at countries like Finland or Estonia.
Estonia is a success story which took up the Euro less than two years ago.
Iceland needs not raise taxes (further) but we definitely need a new currency for the next generations and today’s foreign investors.
The Euro is the best bet. Close to 70 percent of our imports and exports go to the Eurozone.
Our beloved ISK, or króna, is dead.
It is only worth 0.045 percent of its original 1920 value.
Pall Stefánsson - email@example.com