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UK tax competitiveness: Navigating turbulent times

UK tax competitiveness: Navigating turbulent times

The UK remains a powerful draw for investment despite the complex challenges associated with Brexit, according to our latest survey.

Melissa Geiger

Partner, Head of International Tax and Tax Policy

KPMG in the UK


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UK tax competitiveness: Navigating turbulent times, Illustration of kite in blue and red

Almost two years on from the EU Referendum the UK is proving its resilience in navigating challenging waters. Our latest survey of tax competitiveness – drawn from 135 conversations with senior tax decision-makers from a range of large companies in the UK and across the world – shows that the UK Government’s commitment to a stable and competitive tax regime is recognised and valued worldwide.

There is much to be optimistic about, but Brexit still hangs over many of the survey’s findings and is clearly the primary focus of the business community. The need for continuing frictionless trade and ongoing regulatory equivalence are the biggest concern – but the survey also shows that companies can and do look beyond Brexit when assessing where to locate and invest.

The survey’s main findings include:

  • The UK remains in second place (behind Ireland) in the rankings of tax competitiveness as a location for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI);
  • This is driven, though, by the views of UK companies and foreign businesses with UK operations. The UK is a less attractive prospect among companies that currently have no operations here, ranking fifth behind Ireland, The Netherlands, Singapore and Luxembourg;
  • The number of participants citing Brexit as a concern has fallen from 46% to 42% over the past year; and
  • Support for Base Erosion and Profit Sharing (BEPS) remains constant, with 62% of respondents in favour this year, compared with 58% in 2016.

The resounding message from our survey is that businesses look primarily for growth and stability to deliver on their strategy. The UK performs strongly against their primary concerns – the labour market, market size and political and macroeconomic stability. The UK continues to have a huge amount to offer; the challenge for Government is to build on this strong foundation and push the UK to the fore as an effective and dynamic international tax and business environment. 

Read the full Tax Competitiveness report

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