The Joint ICAEW and EGIAN members report looking at the complexity of tax across Europe has just been published and is available to down load at http://www.icaew.com/groups-and-networks/local-groups-and-societies/europe/tackling-taxes-business-perspectives-from-across-europe
This includes the views of 173 tax professionals across 29 European countries, and highlights the need for a simpler tax system across Europe.
According to EGIAN’s John Capper the key insights arising from the report are:
Taxes on goods and services (VAT) are seen as the single most onerous tax category for businesses. Across Europe, 2 in 3 respondents say businesses struggle to comply with VAT rules. In our debate we heard that this is often due to cross border trade with differing interpretations of directives between Member States and of definitions of specific products and services.
There is strong agreement between our respondents that the complexity of tax law is a root cause of the compliance burdens faced by European businesses. A smaller number also point to difficulties caused by the complexity of corporates’ own tax set-ups as well as by the information demands on businesses and associated time costs for compliance.
Asked to identify their wish list for change, our respondents repeatedly express a desire for a more stable and simple tax system as well as reduced rates and the removal of the vast panoply of deductions and exceptions. A number also call for enhanced communication with tax authorities.
Across Europe there is a clear trend towards digitalising tax administration, including for corporate tax. This shift is confirmed by 9 in 10 respondents.
More than two thirds of our respondents believe digital changes will be beneficial for their business clients. Simplified processes, increased transparency as well as time and cost reductions are repeatedly cited as likely benefits. However there are also concerns in some countries about the inadequate level of preparedness for these changes both for taxpayers and for tax authorities.
Many thanks to those BKR Members who took part in the survey.