Monday, November 13, 2006

When It Comes to Taxes, Simple is Better KISS

A recent report from the World Bank Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Paying Taxes – The Global Picture” examines the tax regimes of 175 countries, including measuring the number of pages in a country's income tax code:

India was #1 in the world with 9,000 pages

UK is #2 in the world with 8,300 pages, and it would have been higher but the UK tax laws were recently simplified!

USA has 5,100 pages

Switzerland has just 300 pages

The report also looked at the number of hours it takes to comply with tax requirements and reported an average of 332 hours a year for businesses to comply with tax requirements, ranging from 2,600 hours in Brazil to 325 in the U.S. to 68 in Switzerland.

See today's
Wall Street Journal editorial "Tax Ephiany" on the World Bank report:

"A bright light descended from the sky last week and shone upon the world's economic planners. It came courtesy of the World Bank, of all unlikely places; its toiling economists have discovered that simplified tax systems promote economic growth."

"The overriding goal of any tax system should be to raise the revenue that governments need for public purposes with the least amount of economic distortion and evasion. The lesson of the World Bank report is that the more transparent and simple a tax scheme, the more it will achieve that purpose."

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