UK leaps into Top 10 of global tax ranking

Published at 02:02 AM on 17 November 2016

No evidence of ‘race to the bottom’, with profit and labour taxes increasing globally this year

The UK has entered the top 10 in the global ranking of effective business tax systems for the first time. Now in it’s 12th year, ‘Paying Taxes’ a report published today by PwC and the World Bank Group shows that Britain has leapt five places since last year to 10th place in the league table, which ranks 190 economies on the ease of paying taxes for a case study manufacturer.

The UK’s improved position is partly down to cuts in the corporation tax rate, but also recognition that the compliance burden is lighter than in most other jurisdictions.   The UK performs well on post-filing interactions with tax authorities, specifically securing a VAT refund and correcting an error in a corporation tax return.   In many other countries, particularly low income economies, this would be more time consuming and costly.

But there is still plenty of room for improvement on compliance;  it still takes about 14 days (110 hours) for a medium sized company to prepare, file and pay its corporation, labour and value added taxes - with eight different taxes to pay in all. 

Kevin Nicholson, head of tax at PwC, said:

“Entering the top 10 comes at a good time, sending a clear signal the UK iss open for business.  Ease of paying taxes is a good indicator for a country’s business environment more generally.

“But the UK can’t rest on its laurels, with tax reform on the cards in other countries including the US, no country’s position in the rankings is secure.   It is crucial that the Government continually looks for ways to improve the UK tax system.

“While the Government’s digitisation drive should make tax collection more efficient in the long term, compliance could get tougher as the changes are implemented and bed down.  Great care will be needed to prevent the changes adversely the UK’s top ten place in the ranking.”

Overall, the study finds that, year on year, key indicators of how easy it is for a business to pay taxes (time, number of payments, and the Total Tax Rate) continue to fall. However, there is little evidence of a race to the bottom with more countries increasing the Total Tax Rate for business than cutting it, and profit taxes and labour related taxes increasing globally.

Economies around the world continue to reduce their compliance burden, bringing the global average compliance time down to 251 hours, a drop of eight hours compared to last year.  The average number of payments globally was cut to 25 (down 0.8 payments),

Electronic filing continues to have a significant impact on easing the burden of tax administration, and globally, the most common feature of tax reform in the past year was the introduction or enhancement of electronic systems for filing and paying taxes.

The Middle East continues to be the easiest region in which to pay taxes, with the lowest Total Tax Rate and time to comply, as governments rely on sources of revenue other than taxation. Compliance takes an average of 157 hours which is also below the global average.


Notes for Editor:

Top 20 ranked economies

  1. Qatar, joint with United Arab Emirates
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Bahrain
  4. Ireland
  5. Kuwait
  6. Denmark
  7. Singapore
  8. Macedonia
  9. United Kingdom
  10. New Zealand
  11. Oman
  12. Finland
  13. San Marino
  14. Latvia
  15. Luxembourg
  16. Canada
  17. Switzerland
  18. Bhutan
  19. Netherlands


Paying Taxes ranking

United Kingdom




Korea, Rep.




United States


Russian Federation




South Africa




Saudi Arabia




















For interviews and more information please contact Nicola Thorogood on 020 7804 6007 or [email protected]


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