Compliance with local, national and international tax laws is critical to ensuring that the taxation system works for all and supports the relevant government programs and services. Tax authorities around the world are tasked with driving compliance, but at the same time, are responsible for providing services that make it easier for businesses to comply.
One key method used by authorities to encourage compliance is to keep the tax rules as simple and transparent as possible. Governments with easy-to-use tax systems are able to help businesses’ meet their obligations and, ultimately, their own coffers. A study of 118 countries over six years found that a 10% reduction in the administrative burden—by reducing the number of tax payments per year and the time required to pay taxes—resulted in a 3% increase in business entry rates.
Another area where tax administrations are helping to facilitate compliance is in the digital arena. With more and more data available every day, administrations are introducing new technology and analytical tools. Their goal is to lower the cost of tax compliance and provide more efficient procedures to help businesses comply. Of course, some administrations have been more successful than others. Two examples of success: in Hong Kong SAR, China, businesses are required to make only three payments a year. In Estonia, businesses wanting to comply with a full range of taxes – including profit tax, VAT and labour taxes and contributions — can expect to budget only 50 hours a year, or six working days.
At the recent Tax Transformation Summit in London, tax professionals from the world’s leading brands came together to discuss today’s hottest topics in the tax function: transparency, transformation and technology. Remco Dewaerheijt, VP Tax & Product Strategy for VATBox, led a panel of industry experts in a discussion about the changing relationship between business taxpayers and the authorities. Whereas in the past, the authorities were deemed adversarial, today they are offering measures to facilitate compliance at a low cost to businesses.
John Shuker, an Indirect Tax Partner at PwC, said, “At the European level, various measures have been designed to facilitate compliance and facilitate transactions at a very low cost; things like e-Invoicing have been encouraged, for example.” He also mentioned the more recent efforts to push for open communication: “There are relationship managers in the tax authorities for some of the larger taxpayers which enable an important dialogue with the tax authorities, without having to work out who they should be talking to.”
He stresses that dialogue is important but that the level of dialogue differs a lot depending on the country. “World economies are growing, businesses are expanding and there are more emerging markets than ever before. Of course, the maturity of each of these markets varies, and that impacts the level of help the authorities can provide to businesses on their journey to compliance”.
Mr Shuker points to the VATBox platform as a disruptor in the tax technology market. To learn more about how VATBox’s innovative platform empowers financial professionals to make strategic decisions based on their transactional data while ensuring unrivalled compliance and savings, click here.