We are pleased to present the fifth edition of Paying Taxes – the global picture.This is a joint publication produced by the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and PwC. The study is based on data collected as part of the Doing Business project.

This is the most challenging time ever for paying taxes. The recent global downturn has changed the economic landscape significantly and in an unprecedented fashion. Governments in economies of all sizes and at all stages of development are struggling with the tax policy choices available to them. For companies, the challenge is dealing with the loss of public trust and increased scrutiny over how much tax they pay.

Paying Taxes looks at the impact of tax systems on business using a case study company, but it does not consider the costs for society as a whole nor the the benefits that taxes provide. However, the wealth of data collected by the Paying Taxes project makes it unique. It covers 183 economies and enables an assessment of tax systems around the world from the point of view of business over a six year period. The data presented and the methodology used is unique to the project. The study looks beyond corporate income tax at all of the taxes and contributions mandated by government for our case study company, and considers their full impact on business in terms of both their tax cost and their compliance burden. Governments have consistently shown great interest in the results of this study, as it enables them to make comparisons with geographic neighbours and economic peer groups.

Many examples of how governments are using the study are included in this report. They show how Paying Taxes has helped to increase recognition of how governments are striving to improve their systems and embrace best practices, and how some are achieving results.

An important part of the Doing Business and Paying Taxes project is not only to present and discuss the results of the study, but also to ensure an active outreach programme of consultation with interested groups. This helps to develop and enhance the approach used. results interesting and useful, and look forward to receiving your feedback.

Taxes are essential to economic and social development. Business has a key role to play and it is important for governments, business and civil society to foster a new collaborative approach to meet the common aims of a fair, stable and sustainable tax system.

Download the full report here Paying Taxes 2011.