Tax Reform Remains on the Agenda of Governments Despite Economic Downturn

News Release

In Washington, D.C.:

Nadine Ghannam, World Bank Group

Phone: + 1 (202) 473 3011

E-mail: nsghannam@ifc.org

In London:

Georgina Rushie, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Phone: +44 (0) 20 7804 6924/ +44 (0) 7725 707 175

E-mail: georgina.rushie@uk.pwc.com


Tax Reform Remains on the Agenda of Governments Despite Economic Downturn

Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 23, 2009-Despite the economic downturn, government focus around the world has remained on tax reform, concludes a new report released on 20 November by the World Bank Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The report, Paying Taxes, finds that 45 economies made it easier to pay taxes, almost 25 percent more than in the previous year.

This year's top reformer, Timor-Leste, introduced a new tax law, streamlined the business tax regime and simplified tax administration. For the third year in a row, Eastern Europe and Central Asia had the largest number of reforms, with 10 economies reforming.

"Government efforts to streamline tax procedures and reduce time spent on compliance can make an important difference for small and medium enterprises, especially in difficult economic times," said Penelope Brook, World Bank Group Director of the Global Indicators and Analysis department. "This year's top reformer reduced compliance time by over 50 percent by rationalizing tax regulations, simplifying computation rules, and reducing payments."

The report measures the ease of paying taxes across 183 economies by assessing the administrative burden for companies to comply with tax regulations, and also by calculating companies' total tax liability as a percentage of pre-tax profits. In the past five years, the report has recorded 171 reforms affecting taxes in 104 economies worldwide.

While 20 economies have reduced corporate income tax rates, 18 simplified the process of paying taxes. On average across all of the 183 economies covered in the report, the standard case study company measured has to make 31 tax payments and spend 286 hours on calculating and paying its taxes.

The results show that corporate income tax is just one of the taxes with which business must comply. On average, the company pays 9.5 different taxes and corporate income tax accounts for only 12 percent of payments, 26 percent of the time to comply, and 38 percent of the tax cost.

"The global recession has meant falling tax revenues and difficult tax policy choices," said Susan Symons, partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "The challenge is ensuring sufficient public revenues for the future while incentivizing investment and economic growth."



Notes to editors

For more information about the Doing Business report series, visit www.doingbusiness.org.

For more information about Paying Taxes, visit www.doingbusiness.org/taxes.

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

About PricewaterhouseCoopers

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