Corporate and indirect tax rates around the world are in a constant state of change as governments look to increase indirect rates to raise revenue but to decrease corporate tax rates to attract investment.
As 2012 came to a close, KPMG International in their annual Corporate and Indirect Tax Rate Survey shows that the global indirect tax average increased by 0.17 percent to 15.50.
Africa and Asia had the most significant increases, from 14.17 to 14.57 percent and 11.84 to 12.24 percent respectfully.
A notable indirect development in 2012 saw the introduction of a VAT Pilot Program in Shanghai and its subsequent extension into other 10 other provincial-level regions.
“We expect the global indirect tax rate average to continue to rise in 2013 as more governments continue their path to economic recovery,” says Tim Gillis, KPMG’s Head of Global Indirect Tax Services. “Throughout 2013 a number of countries’ VAT systems will jump up including Finland, Dominican Republic and Cyprus.”
Meanwhile, the global corporate tax rate average remained almost the same. There was a small decline of 0.09 percent to 24.43 percent since January 2012. For 2013 many country budget proposals include corporate tax rate reductions. Countries with proposed corporate tax rate drops in 2013 include Mexico, Sweden and Ecuador.
“Corporate tax will never be abolished or abandoned,” says Wilbert Kannekens, KPMG’s Head of Global International Corporate Tax. “Profits will always be taxed. That is what governments and the general public wants. With business being global and taxes being levied on a country-by-country basis more discussions will arise on how profits will have to be “allocated” to various jurisdictions.”
The highest and lowest tax rates
For 2012, the United Arab Emirates claimed the highest corporate tax rate (55 percent), followed by the United States (40 percent) and Japan (38.01 percent).
Of those countries with a corporate income tax, Montenegro had the lowest corporate income tax rate (9 percent), followed by a number of countries at 10 percent including Serbia, Cyprus, Paraguay and Qatar. It should be noted that the “statutory tax rates” could differ from the “effective tax rate”. For example the United Arab Emirates in practice does not levy corporate income tax.
On the indirect tax side, Hungary (27 percent), Iceland (25.5 percent), Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Croatia (25 percent) hold the title for the highest indirect tax rates.
Aruba has the smallest VAT, or turnover tax, at 1.5 percent, followed by a number of countries with a 5 percent VAT/GST including Japan, Canada, Yemen and Nigeria.