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Taxation of SMEs in OECD and G20 Countries

image of Taxation of SMEs in OECD and G20 Countries

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are important for their contribution to employment, innovation, economic growth and diversity. This report examines the tax treatment of SMEs, the case for SME preferences, and the use of tax preferences and simplification measures for SMEs in thirty-nine OECD and G20 countries. It finds that many of the tax systems examined provide incentives to incorporate and to distribute income in certain types of capital form. Ideally, taxes should be neutral with regard to the business decisions of SMEs, including decisions related to their creation, form and growth. However, certain features of the tax system may disproportionately affect SMEs, for example, the asymmetric treatment of profits and losses, a bias toward debt over corporate equity, and the higher fixed costs of tax and regulatory compliance for small businesses. This report recommends that measures designed to address these concerns be carefully targeted to affected firms and seek to avoid introducing further distortions and complexity.

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Income taxation of SMEs

This chapter describes the different tax regimes that apply to SME income under both corporate and personal tax regimes. Firstly, the chapter provides a framework for considering the influence of tax policy issues on the decisions of SME owners, before considering the link between legal and tax status. Secondly, the chapter considers the taxation of SMEs taxed only at the personal level, estimating the marginal tax rates at different levels of SME income. Thirdly, the chapter discusses the taxation of SMEs which are double-taxed, considering taxation at the corporate level and subsequent taxation at the personal level when the income is distributed to the owner. Finally, the chapter concludes by discussing the impact of income taxation on the decisions of SME owners.

English

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