According to the investment services provider Mercer’s latest Worldwide Individual Tax Comparator Report, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) provides the best ratio of net to gross salary, with no income tax and small social-security contributions, meaning people enjoy a 95 percent return. In second place is Russia, which has a flat 13 percent tax for all income levels, while Hong Kong is in third place, with tax and social-security contributions coming in at just 14.2 percent of gross basic salary. The priciest place for single people is Belgium, where the return is only 49.5 percent of gross salary, while married people with or without children in Hungary get just 51.5 percent. For single people, the United Kingdom is tied at 14th place with India, Australia, and the United States. Brazil, India, and Turkey stand out as examples of countries where married people pay similar tax rates to single people.
No matter the tax rates, other costs of living and costs of housing and schooling still need to be taken into account when considering an overseas assignment. The UAE is highly attractive to expats. “For three to five years, young professionals can fast-track their savings to afford a mortgage when they return home, while senior executives can maximize their savings potential ahead of retirement,” says Markus Wiesner of Mercer in Dubai.