UK climbs one position to 15th place in a ranking of effective business tax systems, but drawn-out compliance times stop it from placing higher

Hayley Kirton
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Corporation tax may be down but it still takes medium-sized companies 14 days to sort out their business taxes (Source: Getty)

The UK has claimed 15th place in a ranking of countries with effective business tax systems, climbing up one position from last year, according to a report published today by the World Bank Group and professional services firm PwC.

The league table, which assesses countries on how easy it is to pay taxes based on tax costs and compliance obligations, positioned the UK as the third-highest G20 country, behind Saudi Arabia in third place and Canada in ninth place, but ahead of the USA in 53rd position.

The UK’s solid performance is partly thanks to a low corporation tax rate.

However, the report warned that the country’s compliance burden had failed to improve since last year, with the average medium-size company still requiring 110 hours, or roughly 14 days, to prepare, file and pay its corporation, labour and value added taxes, and needing to pay eight different types of taxes in total.

The average compliance burden for all countries studied was 261 hours.

Kevin Nicholson, head of tax at PwC, remarked: “The UK has a competitive tax system, but other countries continue to drive their own tax reform agenda.

“If the government is to make the UK the most competitive tax system in the G20, where it currently ranks third on the World Bank index, we can’t afford to sit still on tax reform.”

And Augusto Lopez-Claros, director, global indicators group, development economics, World Bank Group, added: “Taxes are essential to finance public services and development globally. The design of a tax system can influence firms’ decisions on whether to operate in the formal sector. It’s encouraging that economies worldwide continue to introduce substantial improvements in their tax environment. It means both an easing of the burden on business, and sustainable revenues for governments.”

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