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GBCI 2024: South American countries take five spots in the top ten, ranking among the most complex in which to do business. Cayman Islands remains the simplest country in which to operate

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LONDON, June 03, 2024 – TMF Group, a leading provider of compliance and administrative services, has today launched the 11th edition of the Global Business Complexity Index (GBCI). This report provides an overview of complexity when operating businesses around the world. It is based on 292 indicators covering legislation, compliance, accounting procedures, tax regimes, human resources and payroll processes, across 79 jurisdictions.

Within the South American region, Colombia leads the rankings this year at 3rd (up from 5th in 2023), followed by Mexico (4th for the third year running), Bolivia (5th), Brazil (7th), and Peru (9th). Colombia’s high ranking is driven by its complex accounting and tax systems, with tax reforms having been introduced on multiple occasions in the past seven years. Mexico’s complex regulations involve the time taken for bank account setup and varying requirements for visa working, while Bolivia’s complexity is driven by an old-fashioned taxation system, requiring physical presence and language localisation. Brazil’s ranking is attributed to its tax legislation and varied legislation at different administrative levels. Meanwhile, Peru offers good natural resources but has complicated licensing processes for international companies.

At the other end of the rankings, the Cayman Islands once again places as GBCI’s least complex jurisdiction, consistent across service lines and over recent years. Its straightforward taxation system and high level of digitalisation simplify operations for international businesses. Government and regulatory interactions are also mainly through online platforms, enabling remote operations.

TMF Group’s Head of Latam, Monica Vera, said:

“This year, many South American jurisdictions have improved their overall ranking, regardless of being popular for their blend of complexity and opportunity. These jurisdictions are taking advantage of their complexities, such as Colombia – which is anticipating more investment opportunities following recent regional elections – and Mexico – which is increasing its growth by benefitting from shifting global trade. Moreover, the transition to digitalisation is already in progress. Despite the challenges, South American countries are always ready for more growth.”

Top and bottom ten (1= most complex, 79= least complex)

1    Greece
2    France
3    Colombia
4    Mexico
5    Bolivia
6    Turkey
7    Brazil
8    Italy
9    Peru
10  Kazakhstan
70  Jamaica
71  British Virgin Islands (BVI)
72  Jersey
73  United Kingdom
74  The Netherlands
75  New Zealand
76  Hong Kong, SAR
77  Denmark
78  Curaçao
79  Cayman Islands