These Three Countries Have the Most Complex Tax and Accounting Framework in EMEA 1

The Europe, Middle East, & Africa (EMEA) region has ample representation in the Financial Complexity Index for 2017, with 50 of 94 total countries from within the geographic area.

After viewing these top ten countries in the previous article, we’ll look in depth at the top three systems from the region. In order to add another dimension to the analysis, we have also looked at the country’s overall and parameter specific performance in the World Bank’s Doing Business report.


We’ve already looked at some of the issues in the previous article which make Turkey’s tax and accounting system the most complex in the world.

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In terms of doing business, the country ranks the worst among the four nations from EMEA which make the top 10 list in the Financial Complexity Index. While ‘paying taxes’ and ‘resolving insolvency’ are parameters in which the country ranks the lowest, standing 128th and 126th among 190 countries, ‘protecting minority investors’ and ‘enforcing contracts’ are its best aspects where it ranks 22nd and 33rd in the world.

As far as efforts towards making the country’s system easier are concerned, Turkey is trying to “harmonise Turkish processes with those of the rest of the European Union, by minimising the differences in regulation, and equalising tax rates,” the report observed.


Alike Turkey, we have looked at the major issues making Italy’s tax and accounting system complex in the previous article.

The country is already making efforts to align its accounting practices with international standards. The report noted that the Italian Accounting Principles are more in line with IAS/IFRS, tax refund times have reduced, and the country has introduced tax bonuses. Further, the country is providing more flexibility to international companies in the area of taxation.

In terms of doing business, Italy is ranked 50th overall. However, it is the best in the world on the ‘trading across borders’ parameter. If taxation systems – a challenge – were to improve, the country will gain favor in the eyes of businesses, and possibly investors.


Greece ranks third in EMEA and fourth in the world in terms of its challenging tax and accounting system. The report observed that the country “has an extremely complex set of tax rules that directly impact local accounting.”

The value-added tax (VAT) is multi-layered and is inconsistent in its application. Further, the administrative process is long and cumbersome.

Given the economic condition the country is in, the report is unsure about the direction of accounting and tax-related developments.

In terms of accounting, and as a place of doing business, the situation for the country remains challenging.

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