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9% sales tax (I don't see anything about exemptions)

There will always be exemptions. I got this info from several wiki articles.

In France the VAT is 19.6% in general and 5.5% on food.

The VAT in Sweden is 25% on most stuff but a mere 12% on food.

French income tax (in 2009) takes 30% of taxable income over €26,000 and 40% over €70,000.

Not high enough for you? How about Sweden, where typical income tax is 48% subject to a few credits where applicable. Paying just about half of your earnings right off the top and then 25% of what you spend may seem like a lot, but at least health care is "free."

--fleg
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