By Jerom Bolt
Paying Taxes, an annual study from PwC and the World Bank Group, helps governments and businesses understand how their tax systems compare on the global stage and helps tax administrations learn from what others are doing.
Now in its 14th edition, this year’s study looks at how advances in technology make paying taxes easier. With 15 years of data and comparative analysis on the tax systems in 190 economies, Paying Taxes lets you see the impact of digital innovation around the world.
Romania has climbed to 32nd in the PwC Paying Taxes 2020 global rankings. Romania was 49th in last year’s study, which is part of the World Bank’s annual Doing Business report.
‘Over time we have seen significant changes in the tax policies governments use to raise the funds necessary to meet their obligations, even if the average TTCR rates have remained stable. The global average TTCR for 2018 is 40.5%, showing a very slight increase from 40.4% in 2017 which continues the five-year trend of little movement’ the report shows.
This year, Romania is ahead of other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic (53rd), Slovakia (55th), Hungary (56th), Poland (76th) and Bulgaria (97th).
Romania’s improved position is due to an average company’s total tax and contribution rate reducing from 40% to 20%. According to the methodology used in the report, the total tax and contribution rate considers only the tax obligations of an average company / employer as a percentage of profit.
The report shows that in Romania there is a reduction of 40.0% to 20.0%. Six taxes and contributions borne by employers on labor were eliminated. Employers are now subject only to a 2.25% labor insurance contribution, while the overall tax burden on employees for social security taxes went from 16.5% to 35.0% of gross salary. ‘
“Romania’s leap up the global ranking resulted from a significant improvement in the total tax and contribution rate indicator. Transferring responsibility for social security contributions from employers to employees has artificially diminished the employer burden. Romania is the only country in the European Union that has shifted almost entirely social security contributions responsibility to employees, but, as we know, the employers ultimately pay. In practice, companies’ fiscal obligations remained similar”, said Daniel Anghel, Partner, Tax and Legal Services Leader of PwC Romania.
Romania’s other indicators are unchanged from last year. The total tax time remained at 163 hours a year, compared to 213 hours at the regional level. An average Romanian company makes 14 payments annually, similar to last year’s situation, compared to the regional average of 14.4 payments.
“Many countries have used technology to make it substantially easier to pay taxes. Whether it is reporting and payment methods that make taxpayers’ lives easier, or improved monitoring and control making anti-fraud measures, digitising tax administrations contributes to better tax compliance and, implicitly, to improved tax collection. From that perspective we see that Romania hasn’t made any progress since last year. The authorities’ recent announcement regarding the SAF-T acquisition tender is a very important step towards digitising the tax administration”, explains Daniel Anghel.
The global report highlights the significant advantages offered by tax administrations adopting new technologies. In both Brazil and Vietnam, the time needed to meet tax obligations was 23% lower in 2018 than in 2017. Other economies have benefitted from large reductions in the number of tax payments.
At the regional level, Poland has fallen eight places since last year’s study, due to an increased number of tax reports. The Czech Republic has also slipped eight places, with Slovakia and Bulgaria dropping seven and five places, respectively. The news is better for Hungary, after climbing 30 places to 56th.
Globally, the ease with which an average company can pay taxes has remained relatively stable across all four indicators: total time (234 hours), total payments (23.1), total tax and contributions rate (40.5%), and post-filing index (60.9 out of 100).
By Jerom Bolt