Taxation of SMEs in OECD and G20 Countries

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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.



The role of SMEs in domestic economies

This chapter provides an overview of SME characteristics in OECD and G20 countries. It firstly considers their role in domestic economies, examining their contribution to employment, value-added and exports. It then considers characteristics of SMEs for tax purposes, considering their share of total taxable business income, their average taxable income at the entity level, and whether their income is subject to single or double-level taxation.


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