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The latest edition of the World Bank's Doing Business report shows that there has been a steady improvement in regulatory efficiency around the world over the last ten years, including in the area of taxation.
The World Bank reported "continued successes in the ease of doing business worldwide, as governments increasingly take up key business reforms."
Doing Business 2017 finds that in the past year alone a record 137 economies around the world have adopted key reforms that make it easier to start and operate small- or medium-sized businesses. Starting a new business now takes an average of 21 days worldwide, compared with 46 days a decade ago.
This year's report also observes a growing trend towards simplification of tax compliance, with 443 reforms having been recorded under the Paying Taxes indicator since 2004 - the second-highest number of reforms under all indicators - with 46 tax reforms implemented in the past year.
In the area of tax administrative improvements, the World Bank highlights the case of the Philippines, which required a medium-sized company to make 48 tax payments per year a decade ago but just 28 this year.
However, it is the United Arab Emirates and Qatar that jointly top the Paying Taxes sub indices, with both jurisdictions requiring companies to make just four payments annually, a process that takes 12 and 41 hours per year, respectively.
Hong Kong, Bahrain, Ireland, Kuwait, Denmark, Singapore, Macedonia, and the United Kingdom make up the remainder of the top-ten.
Somalia sits at the foot of the Paying Taxes sub-index, below (in ascending order) Eritrea, Libya, Venezuela, and South Sudan.
The overall 2017 Doing Business index is topped by New Zealand, followed by Singapore in second place and Denmark in third. The remainder of the top ten (in descending order) includes Hong Kong, South Korea, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, and Macedonia.
Commenting on the report, Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of the World Bank's Global Indicators Group, which produces the report, said: "Government policy plays a huge role in the daily operations of domestic small- and medium-sized firms and onerous regulation can divert the energies of entrepreneurs away from developing their businesses or innovating. This is why we collect the Doing Business data, to encourage regulation that is designed to be smart, efficient, accessible, and simple."
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