The Paying Taxes indicators (the Total Tax Rate, the time to comply and the number of payments) have now been part of the World Bank Group Doing Business project for eight years, monitoring the changes and reforms made to tax regimes around the world. The simple aim of the study is to supply business leaders and policy makers with robust data to enable tax systems to be compared on a like for like basis, and to help inform the dialogue which underlies the development of tax policy.
The study is unique in that it now not only covers 185 economies, but it also provides an insight into how tax systems have developed over a significant period of time, using a consistent methodology.
The period covered (2004 to 2011) has been a particularly turbulent one. Initially there was a period of significant growth, followed by an abrupt and severe economic downturn. We are now in a period of slow, gradual, but inconsistent recovery. It is not surprising therefore that with this volatile economic backdrop, the interest in the payments made by business and received by governments has become more intense and widespread.