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PEOPLE AROUND WORLD HATE TO THE MAX THE HASSLE OF PAYING TAX

Like her counterparts around the world, Swiss taxpayer Johanna Weiss finds filing a pencil-breaking, hair-pulling, coffee-drinking exercise in frustration. And some pay twice the U.S. rates.

"I never can find all the receipts I need, even though I make special files for them. And the bureaucratic wording of the forms drives me crazy!" said Weiss.A worldwide Associated Press survey shows Americans have lots of company in their distaste for filing tax returns.

The wealthiest Swedes must hand over half their income to the government, and Eastern Europeans are discovering that revolution has its price. Indians and Italians are notorious for evading taxes, while most Chinese are legally exempt.

Like Form 1040 and its attachments, documents around the world can be complicated. And the taxes can be steep, up to 60 percent for the wealthiest in the Netherlands, China and Russia.

Against those rates, the top U.S. figure of 31 percent doesn't look so bad. Switzerland is much like the United States, with lower taxes than many countries but with income-tax returns required by federal, state and local governments.

Only a third of British taxpayers - those with untaxed earnings and benefits, including company cars - are supposed to fill out returns themselves. In many countries, companies fill out returns for their employees.

Woe to anyone in Italy with outside income: filing taxes usually takes hours of waiting in line at the bank or post office.

And that comes after tackling the dreaded 740 tax form, which comes with a thick instruction booklet. Most of the self-employed get help from accountants. And the temptation is great just to forget it.

Tax evasion is high in Italy and some other countries, like Mexico, except when companies take care of returns.

Wealthy Indians are required by law to have accountants verify their lengthy returns. Many owners of small businesses are believed to evade taxes.

Sweden used to take 72 percent of top incomes, but the rate has recently been cut to 51 percent.

In the Netherlands, an estimated 50 percent of taxpayers find new "simplified" forms so complicated they still have to hire accountants.

East Europeans are learning that the move to democracy and capitalism also brings new tax systems.

In the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, taxes were deducted at work and almost no one had to fill out returns. That remains true for most Russians, and tax measures being developed for the rapidly growing private sector have yet to be fully implemented.

In Japan, tax time would pass almost unnoticed if it weren't for the attention given by the news media to famous actresses and other public figures delivering their returns to the tax office.

Very few Chinese have to pay income taxes, and the procedure is simple for those like actors and businessmen who do: fill out a short form, go to the tax office and pay what they are told they owe.

Virtually everywhere people pay taxes as they go, either through withholding at work or by payments every few months by professionals and the self-employed.

The European practice is to put only income and proposed deductions on the return, then wait until the government checks each return and decides what is owed in taxes.

The wealthy around the world who stash money in secret Swiss bank accounts don't have to fill out returns for Switzerland. The Swiss government has their tax already - the banks withhold 35 percent of all interest payments and turn it over to the government.