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The Easiest and Most Complex Jurisdictions in the World for Accounting and Tax Compliance
[June 05, 2017]

The Easiest and Most Complex Jurisdictions in the World for Accounting and Tax Compliance

Turkey is the most complex place in the world for Accounting and Tax compliance, followed by Brazil, Italy, Greece and Vietnam - according to TMF Group's inaugural Financial Complexity Index 2017.

The leading provider of global business and compliance services ranked 94 jurisdictions across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas; 1 being most complex through to 94 the least complex. The Cayman Islands came in at 94 as the least complex place for compliance from an accounting and tax perspective.

In determining the rankings with its in-house accounting and tax experts, TMF Group used four weighted complexity parameters, considering the accounting and tax rules and regulations in different jurisdictions, and risks associated with non-compliance.


Turkey     1
Brazil     2
Italy     3
Greece     4
Vietnam     5
Colombia     6
China     7
Belgium     8
Argentina     9
India     10



Most complex

      Global average   Least complex    
Compliance   Greece   78%   60%   Cayman Islands   32%
Reporting   Argentina   88%   55%   Curacao   8%
Bookkeeping   Mexico   84%   51%   Cayman Islands   27%
Tax   Italy   68%   48%   UAE   7%

Results summary

  • Turkey is the most complex jurisdiction overall in which to stay financially compliant largely due to the requirement to report in both Turkish language and currency, and the extremely high number of tax articles, although this is reducing.
  • In southern Europe both Italy (3) and Greece (4) have very localised complexities. In Italy taxes are levied at a national, regional and municipal level, while in Greece taxes are divided into three categories: income, property and consumption tax.
  • South and Central America has five jurisdictions in the top 15 most complex: Brazil (2), Colombia (6), Argentina (9), Bolivia (12) and Mexico (15). This is largely due to the common practice of levying three layers of taxation, at federal, state and municipal level. Argentina scored the highest of all 94 jurisdictions, in the area of 'Reporting' complexity (88%) and Mexico the highest in 'Bookkeeping' (84%).
  • Asia Pacific has three jurisdictions in the top 10: Vietnam (5), China (7) and India (10). Complexity around invoicing, filing and the conducting of audits is high with very specific documentation and processes applied.

Unsurprisingly, the five least complex jurisdictions have simplified reporting requirements and beneficial tax rates to encourage investment: Jersey (90), Hong Kong (91), the UAE (92), BVI (93) and the Cayman Islands (94).

Commenting on the rankings, TMF Group's Global Leader of Service Lines Deborah Williams said: 
"Our findings show that financial complexity can be grouped within three key areas of challenge: regulation, knowledge and technology.

"Multiple layers of taxation and the rate of legislative change in some jurisdictions requires increased effort to meet compliance requirements. And applied local knowledge, not just of legislation but also currency and language, can prove vital in meeting your accounting and tax reporting obligations.

"When operating in a diverse global market, knowing and understanding local requirements for financial compliance can prove the difference between cross-border business success or failure.

"As more and more jurisdictions automate and digitise their information storage and reporting requirements, it's important for organisations to increase their compliance, transparency and flexibility so they can be operationally efficient and reach their full business potential."

To download the full report please visit:


TMF Group helps global companies expand and invest seamlessly across international borders. Its expert accountants, legal, HR and payroll professionals located around the world assist clients with their corporate structures, finance vehicles and investments. With business services offered in more than 80 countries, TMF Group is the global expert that understands local needs.

Index methodology and global rankings

In a survey comprising 70 detailed questions, TMF Group asked their global in-house accounting and tax experts to rank the complexity of their local jurisdiction according to four weighted complexity parameters.

In particular, they considered:

  • the accounting and tax rules and regulations in different jurisdictions
  • how to incorporate relevant regulations into your business and
  • the risks associated with non-compliance.
COMPLIANCE   Cross border transactions, corporate representation and data storage requirements and methods.
REPORTING   Legal regulations, local reporting process and fiscal representation.
BOOKKEEPING   Accounting regulations, corporate representation and technology.
TAX   Tax registration, compliance regulation and types of taxes.

Based on TMF Group's analysis of all services and complexity criteria:

  • Turkey ranked as the most complex in the world for accounting and tax compliance
  • The Cayman Islands are the least complex.


Turkey 1 Malta 33 Slovakia 65
Brazil 2 Chile 34 Bulgaria 66
Italy 3 Paraguay 35 Georgia 67
Greece 4 Latvia 36 New Zealand 68
Vietnam 5 Indonesia 37 South Africa 69
Colombia 6 Azerbaijan 38 USA 70
China 7 Egypt 39 Denmark 71
Belgium 8 Portugal 40 Ukraine 72
Argentina 9 Dominican Republic 41 Myanmar 73
India   10 Finland 42 Macedonia 74
France 11 Montenegro 43 Australia 75
Bolivia 12 Panama 44 Japan 76
Albania 13 Jamaica 45 Sweden 77
Kazakhstan 14 Mauritius 46 UK 78
Mexico 15 Poland 47 Norway 79
Belarus 16 Taiwan 48 Gibraltar 80
Israel 17 Canada 49 Slovenia 81
Spain 18 South Korea 50 Serbia 82
Pakistan 19 Nicaragua 51 Singapore 83
Croatia 20 Peru 52 Labuan 84
Austria 21 Russia 53 Qatar 85
Ecuador 22 Romania 54 Cambodia 86
Honduras 23 The Netherlands 55 Switzerland 87
Luxembourg 24 Costa Rica 56 Kosovo 88
Philippines 25 Lebanon 57 Curacao 89
Uruguay 26 Ireland 58 Jersey 90
Thailand 27 Malaysia 59 Hong Kong 91
El Salvador 28 Czech Republic 60 UAE 92
Guatemala 29 Estonia 61 BVI 93
Venezuela 30 Lithuania 62 Cayman Islands 94
Angola 31 Cyprus 63
Hungary 32 Kyrgyzstan 64

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