European tax complexity hits business

A survey of tax professionals across 29 European countries has found that over 80% report that complicated tax laws hinder business growth, ICAEW reports

The research, conducted jointly with the European group of international accounting networks and associations (EGAIN) polled 173 tax professionals to find over four in five identified the complexity of tax law as the number one compliance burden for businesses in Europe.

Martin Manuzi, ICAEW European regional director, said: ‘In economically challenging times, the last thing businesses need is to have to navigate through a maze of red tape. Businesses need to be able to focus efforts on innovation and growth. If the digitalisation of tax is to be successfully rolled out across all of Europe, it is vital that the tax environment be made more accessible and less complex for businesses of all sizes and sectors.’

The report, ‘Tackling taxes – Business Perspectives from across Europe’, highlights VAT compliance as being particularly challenging for businesses, with two in three of respondents saying businesses struggle to comply with VAT rules.

John Capper, EGIAN executive director, said: ‘Whilst there is significant data available, including from the European Commission and the OECD, on tax indicators, there is little research which takes as its starting point the views of tax professionals. ‘Our report aims to fill this gap. Tax professionals stand ready to help identify and tackle the main challenges. Together, we should work towards tax systems that achieve the right balance between business growth and compliance.’

ICAEW's report - Tackling Taxes: Business perspectives from across Europe is here. PDF iconicaew_egian_report_final.pdf

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