Taxes on goods and services

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What you should know about this indicator

The variable Taxes captures tax collected regardless of sources (i.e., unless otherwise defined, this includes resource-based taxes). These follow the definition of taxes found in both the IMF’ Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFSM) and OECD Revenue Statistics Interpretive Guide as ‘compulsory, unrequited …’ payments to the government (IMF 2014; OECD 2020).

Indirect taxes comprise the sum of taxes on goods and services, international trade and transactions, and other taxes. The position displayed in Indirect may exceed the sum of mentioned sub-components due to unallocated revenue not classified in any of these categories. Note that the component of indirect taxes from natural resources is only non-zero in a small number of cases.

The majority of taxes on goods and services is comprised of sales taxes, value-added taxes (VAT) and excise duties. The OECD’s Revenue Statistics classes taxes on international trade and transactions under taxes on goods and services; thus for the GRD it is stripped out and reallocated . Note that the total of ‘Taxes on Goods and Services’ may be greater than the sum of the subcomponents due to unallocated residual revenues. Note also that, historically, a large number of countries classed VAT and Excise duty collected on imports as trade taxes. Both the IMF and OECD classify these as taxes on goods and services, and thus fall in this category. In the GRD, where it has not been possible to make this correction—primarily where historical Article IV data is involved—a note has been added to the relevant observations.

UNU-WIDER Government Revenue Dataset (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
November 1, 2023
Next expected update
October 2024
Date range
% of GDP

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The GRD aims to present a complete picture of government revenue and tax trends over time and allows for analysis at the country, regional or cross-country level. Where possible, figures are expressed both inclusive and exclusive of natural resource revenues, which helps to overcome a major obstacle to cross-country comparisons in existing data sources.

Retrieved on
November 1, 2023
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
UNU-WIDER Government Revenue Dataset. Version 2023.

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

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Notes on our processing step for this indicator

The source provides their data with caution notes, classifying them as follows:

  1. Accuracy, quality or comparability of data questionable.
  2. Un-excluded resource revenues/taxes are significant but cannot be isolated from total revenue/taxes.
  3. Un-excluded resource revenue/taxes are marginal but non-negligible and cannot be isolated from total revenue/taxes.
  4. Inconsistencies with social contributions.

We have excluded from our dataset the observations flagged with caution note 1.

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How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Taxes on goods and services”, part of the following publication: Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser (2016) - “Taxation”. Data adapted from UNU-WIDER. Retrieved from [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

UNU-WIDER Government Revenue Dataset (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

UNU-WIDER Government Revenue Dataset (2023) – with major processing by Our World in Data. “Taxes on goods and services” [dataset]. UNU-WIDER, “Government Revenue Dataset (GRD) 2023” [original data]. Retrieved July 13, 2024 from