• Type: Press release
  • Date: 4/4/2012

Effective global VAT/GST management practices elude businesses, shows a KPMG survey 

Bucharest, 5 April 2012

Despite the shift to indirect tax globally, a new survey released by KPMG International shows that businesses are simply not keeping pace. In fact, according to KPMG International’s 2012 Benchmarking Survey on VAT/GST, VAT/GST continues to be under-resourced, under-managed and under-measured by the majority of global businesses.


New business models, increased globalization, finance function transformation and rapid legislative change are all putting VAT/GST management under tremendous pressure. Compliance risks, obligations and challenges are increasing – but are global businesses reacting appropriately? Not so, according to the Survey, which reveals some interesting and potentially worrying findings, such as:


  • 63 percent of global businesses do not have a Global Head of VAT/GST. Which begs the question - who is responsible for managing this increasingly complex, challenging and financially significant global tax obligation and do they have appropriate skills and resources?
  • The survey further shows that the majority - 59 percent - only have between one and 10 full-time employees (or equivalents) focused on indirect tax worldwide and one-quarter of respondents have no full-time equivalent VAT /GST specialists at all. Given the scale of VAT / GST under management – in many global businesses, VAT/GST throughput is between $1bn and $10bn- this looks like a serious case of under-resourcing,
  • Only 32 percent rate their VAT / GST policies as very good or excellent. Worse still, only 20 percent rate their implementation as very good or excellent. Sounds like most businesses are well behind where they need to be.

On the plus side, many businesses in the survey are on the right track and are implementing policies that set out how VAT/GST should be managed, with an increase evident over last year’s survey results. Forty-seven percent of EMEA respondents have such policies (up from 38 percent last year), ASPAC - 32 percent (up from 12 percent last year), LATAM - 20 percent (up from 12 percent) and with 33 percent in North America. But there is clearly still a lot of work to do as only 32 percent of respondents rate their VAT/GST policies as very good or excellent and only 20 percent scored the implementation of policies as very good or excellent.


In terms of future investment in VAT/GST management, 39 percent prioritized investment in processes, 35 percent prioritized technology and 26 percent prioritized people Implementing the right mix of enhancements in these areas will be critical as the demands on the VAT / GST function increase – ranging from meeting new VAT / GST compliance obligations,   managing of more VAT /GST audits, defending against tax authority challenges throughout the world and  providing valuable advice to a fast moving business.


”Given the current global economic climate, one can say that Romanian businesses still have a long way to go, at least from a VAT cash flow management point of view. Most multinational companies have assigned, on average, only one full time employee to handle the firm’s tax obligations, including VAT compliance, while many other companies have no full time employees who specialize in taxation” says Ramona Jurubiță, Partner and Head of Indirect Tax Services at KPMG in Romania. ”Considering the shift towards indirect taxation, both globally and in Romania, we recommend that companies thoroughly examine the manner in which their tax departments, including VAT practices, are being managed,” she added.


Media Enquiries

Maria Stancu

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