Canadians spend more money on taxes than basic necessities, according to a report by the Fraser Institute.

Roughly 43 per cent of an average family's income was spent on taxes last year, compared to 37 per cent on food, shelter and clothing, the report said.

"Taxes are far and away the largest and fastest increasing expense in the average household budget," said Charles Lammam, associate director of the Fraser Institute.

He noted that the situation has reversed since 1961, when the tax bill for the average family represented only 33 per cent of total income.

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Roughly 43 per cent of an average family's income was spent on taxes in 2012, the Fraser Institute report says. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

One reason Canadians pay so much in tax is they don't fully understand their tax bills, says Lammam, who co-authored the Canadian Consumer Tax Index.

"It's very difficult, first, to keep track of some of the taxes you pay. Some of the taxes are hidden."

Lammam says another part of the problem is budget deficits at all levels of government as taxes don't cover current levels of government spending.

"The outlook for taxpayers is bleak, since deficits must one day be paid for by working Canadians unless governments take serious steps to reduce spending," Lammam said.