World Bank 2018 Doing Business report cites India as the world's most improved business environment

November 2017

Russell Bedford International member firm the Sharp & Tannan Group has again assisted the World Bank in researching its annual Doing Business project. This year's report, Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs, reveals India to be this year's best performer, up 30 places in the overall Ease of Doing Business rankings (reaching the top 100 for the first time) and up 53 places in the report's Paying Taxes survey.

Published annually since 2003, the World Bank Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations for local firms in 190 economies worldwide. Russell Bedford International member firms have assisted the World Bank in researching its annual Paying Taxes survey since 2009, contributing data on tax regulation, recent reforms, and the real costs of tax compliance worldwide.

This year's report makes clear India's success is the result of multiple reforms across a range of sectors, including simplifying processes in establishing a business, improving access to credit, introducing new legislation on insolvency, reducing import border compliance lead-times, and introducing the National Judicial Data Grid - allowing far easier enforcement of contracts. In terms of tax compliance, the report points to the now mandatory online payment of employee pension obligations (the EPF tax), and administrative measures easing corporate income tax compliance.

More broadly, this year's report shows no change on last year's top-performing countries, with New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark again taking the top three slots. The report's Paying Taxes survey this year shows some remarkable improvements in individual countries' regulatory regimes and again confirming greatest progress among emerging markets, with El Salvador, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and Angola showing exponential improvements, up 105, 81, 60 and 54 places, respectively. Italy shows the best performance of OECD high income economies, moving from 126 to 112, while the United Kingdom, conversely, shows its worst performance in recent years, down 13 places from 10 to 23.

Shreedhar T. Kunte, Sharp & Tannan Group Managing Partner, commented: "It is highly gratifying to see India's numerous reform initiatives recognised in this report. There is still more to be done, however: while the number of tax submissions has been halved, from 27 to 13, businesses are still spending an average 214 hours per year on their tax compliance - only 35 hours less than last year. We will continue working with clients and regulators to engender the reforms and practices necessary to reduce this still further, to a globally competitive level."

To access the full country report click here.

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