The Tax Complexity Index – A Survey-Based Country Measure of Tax Code and Framework Complexity

Hoppe, Thomas and Schanz, Deborah and Sturm, Susann and Sureth-Sloane, Caren (2021) The Tax Complexity Index – A Survey-Based Country Measure of Tax Code and Framework Complexity. WU International Taxation Research Paper Series, 2019-06. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Universität Wien, Vienna.


Download (2MB) | Preview


This paper introduces the Tax Complexity Index (TCI). The TCI comprehensively measures the complexity of countries’ corporate income tax systems faced by multinational corporations. It builds on surveys of highly experienced tax consultants of the largest international tax services networks. The TCI is composed of a tax code subindex covering tax regulations and a tax framework subindex covering tax processes and features. For a sample of 100 countries, we find that tax complexity varies considerably across countries, and tax code and framework complexity also vary within countries. Among others, tax complexity is strongly driven by the complexity of transfer pricing regulations in the tax code and tax audits in the tax framework. When analyzing the associations with other country characteristics, we identify different patterns. For example, we find a positive association of GDP with tax code complexity and a negative association with tax framework complexity, suggesting that highly economically developed countries tend to have more complex tax codes and less complex frameworks. Overall, the tax complexity measures can serve as valuable proxies in future research and supportive tools for a variety of firm decisions and national and international tax policy discussions.

Item Type: Paper
Additional Information: Editors: Eva Eberhartinger, Michael Lang, Rupert Sausgruber and Martin Zagler (Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Erich Kirchler (University of Vienna)
Keywords: business taxation, cross-country survey, multinational corporations, tax complexity, tax complexity index, tax consultants
Classification Codes: JEL Classification: H20, H25, C83, O57
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2020 16:02
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2021 17:11


View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics