KPMG: tax haven promoter

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KPMG have issued a report saying:

Cyprus, Ireland, and Switzerland are the top three countries in a league table of European tax systems, compiled by KPMG International, in which major business organizations across Europe assessed the attractiveness of their domestic tax regimes.

This was based on:

more than 400 interviews of tax professionals in multinational companies across Europe. Survey participants were asked how attractive they believed their country's tax regime was compared with other European states.

And what does the overall result actually say? Quite simply that these people don't like paying tax. It's not just that these three countries are all tax havens, the next two were as well (Malta and Estonia, which offers 0% tax for corporations). Which makes the findings a little trite, if I can be candid (for once).

The only redeeming feature was this comment by Sue Bonney of KPMG:

I was interested to see that a complex tax regime is seen as a hindrance to competitiveness, but relatively few people felt that a simpler system with a low rate can help make businesses more competitive. Governments across the world have been using tax as a lever to encourage inward investment for many years, but these results help to confirm that a benign tax regime is only part of the package which makes a business competitive. Good infrastructure, a high quality workforce and access to raw materials and markets are all equally important.

True Sue. But what pays for good infrastructure, a high quality workforce and access to raw materials and markets? That's a question she clearly did not ask herself. If she had she would clearly have understood that they are paid for by tax. And despite her interest in the conclusion her prescription was:

These results help to illustrate just how much businesses across Europe dislike uncertainty and complexity. The volume of tax legislation is huge and its interpretation is often opaque. Simplification presents a real challenge for European tax authorities.

Which is not, of course, what the survey found. But it is what KPMG wants. KPMG is, after all, the biggest tax haven operator in the Big 4 (see page 130 here). And as we know, those who promote tax havens seek to shift the burden of tax onto these least able to afford it - the ordinary people of the world. All of which suggests to me that KPMG is working to Make Poverty Reality.