IRELAND is on target to become one of the biggest tax traps in the world, according to a comparison of figures by the World Bank.

The country zoomed into eighth place in the world last year, based on figures for the highest marginal tax rate globally.

With an effective top rate of 46%, Ireland now ranks ahead of China and behind only a handful of countries when it comes to the government take of salary.

According to World Bank figures, Denmark (62%), Sweden (57%) and the Netherlands (52%) have the three highest rates of tax in the world.

All three countries are renowned for high standards of public service provided in terms of health and education in particular. A group of four countries are all bunched together ahead of Ireland, each with a 50% highest tax bracket charged to those earning the most – Japan, Austria, Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The United Kingdom ranks 24th in the table with its 40% tax rate. In the US, the highest marginal rate of tax was 35% but tax experts warned that the figures could not be entirely relied upon.

All countries have different ways of charging tax with some favouring property taxes or VAT-type charges as a means of collecting money.

Finance expert Peter Mathews said: "We may have an incredibly low rate of corporate tax in Ireland but behind that vehicle lies the energies of the people who are paying a very high marginal rate of tax on their own income.

"If the tax take from ordinary people is at a very high rate, it causes a dampener on people's interest in work and on the economy. The rates of VAT on certain goods and services in Ireland are also very high."