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Happy (belated) tax day!

Ryan Hahn's picture

April 15 is the date that Americans have to send in their tax returns. Many folks scramble at the last minute to get their returns post-marked by this date or pay penalties on their taxes. (Of course, things got easier this year for American employees of international organizations after the release of the Geithner edition of TurboTax.) But in celebration of tax day, I thought I'd share a few data points from tax regimes in other parts of the world.

Until recently, there was not much data available on the cost of tax compliance outside of OECD countries. But a recent note from the World Bank on tax compliance in South Africa, the Republic of Yemen, Ukraine, and Peru contains some new data that helps reveal how regressive the cost of tax compliance is in many countries.

The figure below shows just how regressive tax compliance was until recently in South Africa—smaller firms fall to the left on the X-axis, and as you can see from the downward sloping line, they pay a substantially higher percentage of their total turnover in compliance costs. Fortunately, South Africa has taken notice and started introducing a system that will make compliance much simpler for smaller businesses. The threshold for paying VAT has been raised, and small businesses can opt into a new regime based on a turnover tax. Finally, something worth celebrating on tax day! 

Tax compliance


Submitted by US Staff Member on
I used Turbo Tax this year but did not see the "Geithner question." (I do my taxes myself because accountants routinely make the "Geithner mistake.") So, I over-rode certain fields and manually added the Schedule SE. Because of this, I could not e-file... I hope for progress next year.

Submitted by Gytis on
To US Staff Member, The "Geithner question" is in the 2010 edition of Turbo Tax although easy to miss. When you declare your W2 income and click continue it will ask you whether any of the below conditions apply to your W-2 form. You need to check "I worked in the United States for a foreign government or international organization and need to pay self-employment tax".

Submitted by Michael on
And I thought it was my constant complaining to Intuit that got the new question and option! I love that I was able to e-file this year, but I ended up owing more. One would think that over time staff would have found a few good accountants that know how to deal with international organizations and can avoid the "Geithner mistake". Would anyone care to share those names?

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