Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ward defined tax harmonisation as a ‘broadly equivalent tax treatment for items of income and expenditure’ and a ‘comparable tax rate’ between nations.
He said the convergence of national tax systems would occur naturally as world trade grows, and that this would lead to ‘far reaching structural changes in each country’.
‘Tax harmonisation should begin in areas where costs were high, and where implementing a global strategy will reduce the barriers to trade.’
But if harmonisation is to succeed it must be placed at the top of the political agenda, he warned.
Harmonisation should not be implemented rapidly, but should come about in an evolutionary process, which could take up to 20 years or longer to achieve said Ward.
The Forum was attended by the Big Five accountancy firms who rubbed with the likes of Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Sony’s CEO Nobuyuki Idei, and took the opportunity to launch initiatives and lunch dignitories.
As protestors against increasing globalisation of business were barred from Davos, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Jim Schiro unveiled his firm’s ‘opacity index’ which analysed five key factors, including corruption and government regulations, on the cost of capital in 35 countries.
KPMG International chairman Steve Butler led a five-strong delegation at the conference as well as hosting a brunch for its global clients that were present at the gathering.
Senior partners from Arthur Andersen, Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche also attended the weekend conference.
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