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Fact Sheet -- OECD High-Income Economies

Summary of Doing Business reforms:

Australia clarified the priority of claims of unsecured creditors over all shareholders’ claims and introduced further regulation of the profession of insolvency practitioners.
Areas of business regulation reform: Resolving insolvency
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 15     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 11

Austria passed a new law that simplifies restructuring proceedings and gives preferential consideration to the interests of the debtor.
Areas of business regulation reform: Resolving insolvency
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 32     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 28

Belgium made property registration quicker for entrepreneurs by setting time limits and implementing its “e-notariat” system. Municipalities have to provide town planning information within 30 days of a request, and most notaries are now able to do an online check of information at the cadastre and land registry on property subject to sale. Belgium made trading across borders faster by improving its risk-based profiling system for imports.
Areas of business regulation reform: Registering property, Trading across borders
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 28     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 27 

Canada made paying taxes easier and less costly for companies by reducing profit tax rates, eliminating the Ontario capital tax, and harmonizing sales taxes.
Areas of business regulation reform: Paying taxes
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 13     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 12

The Czech Republic made paying taxes easier by revising its tax legislation to simplify provisions relating to administrative procedures and relationships between tax authorities and taxpayers. The Czech Republic speeded up property registration by computerizing the cadastral office, digitizing all its data and by introducing electronic communications with notaries.
Areas of business regulation reform: Paying taxes, Registering property
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 64     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 70

Denmark made resolving insolvency easier by introducing new rules on company reorganization, which led to the elimination of the suspension-of-payments regime.
Areas of business regulation reform: Resolving insolvency
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 5     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 5

In Estonia a municipal sales tax introduced in Tallinn made paying taxes costlier for firms, though a later parliamentary measure abolished local sales taxes effective January 1, 2012.
Areas of business regulation reform: Paying taxes (making it more difficult)
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 24     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 18

Finland simplified reporting and payment for the value added tax and labor tax by introducing "Tax Account," an information and payment system that keeps track of taxpayers’ self-initiated taxes. This reduced the time required to comply with labor taxes paid by employers and value added tax.
Areas of business regulation reform: Paying taxes
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 11     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 14

France made resolving insolvency easier by accelerating the financial safeguard procedure. A new law enables debtors to implement a restructuring plan with financial creditors only, without affecting trade creditors.
Areas of business regulation reform: Resolving insolvency
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 29     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 26

Germany
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 19     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 19

Greece reduced its corporate income tax rate. It also made starting a business easier, by implementing an electronic platform that links several government agencies. Now certified notaries acting on behalf of company founders can register new limited liability companies more quickly.
Areas of business regulation reform: Paying taxes, Starting a business
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 100     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 101

Hungary reduced the amount of credit information available from private credit bureaus by shortening the period for retaining data on defaults and late payments (if repaid) from five years to one year. In addition, it made paying taxes costlier for firms by introducing a sector-specific surtax.
Areas of business regulation reform: Getting credit (credit information) (making it more difficult), Paying taxes (making it more difficult)
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 51     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 46

Iceland made paying taxes easier and less costly for firms by abolishing a tax. It also strengthened investor protections, by introducing new requirements relating to the approval of transactions between interested parties.
Areas of business regulation reform: Paying taxes, Protecting investors
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 9     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 13

Ireland
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 10     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 8

Israel made resolving insolvency easier by amending its courts law to establish specialized courts to deal with economic matters. In addition, Israel made trading across borders easier by changing the method used to calculate port fees.
Areas of business regulation reform: Resolving insolvency, Trading across borders
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 34     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 32

Italy introduced debt restructuring and reorganization procedures as alternatives to bankruptcy proceedings.
Areas of business regulation reform: Resolving insolvency
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 87     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 83

Japan made dealing with construction permits costlier by increasing inspection fees.
Areas of business regulation reform: Dealing with construction permits (making it more difficult)
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 20     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 20

The Republic of Korea made filing a commercial case easier by introducing an electronic case filing system. It eased the administrative burden of paying taxes for firms by merging several taxes, allowing four labor taxes and contributions to be paid jointly, and continuing to increase the use of the online tax payment system. And Korea made starting a business easier by introducing a new online one-stop shop, Start-Biz.
Areas of business regulation reform: Enforcing contracts, Paying taxes, Starting a business
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 8     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 15

Luxembourg
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 50     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 44

The Netherlands
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 31     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 29

New Zealand reduced its corporate income tax rate and fringe benefit tax rate.
Areas of business regulation reform: Paying taxes
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 3     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 3

Norway
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 6     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 7

Poland made resolving insolvency easier by amending its bankruptcy and reorganization law to simplify court procedures and extend more rights to secured creditors. It made trading across borders faster by implementing electronic preparation and submission of customs documents.
Areas of business regulation reform: Resolving insolvency, Trading across borders
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 62     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 59

Portugal made dealing with construction permits easier by streamlining its inspection system. Portugal made starting a business easier by allowing company founders to choose the amount of minimum capital and make their paid-in capital contribution up to one year after the company’s creation, and by eliminating the stamp tax on companies’ share capital subscriptions.
Areas of business regulation reform: Dealing with construction permits, Starting a business
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 30     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 30

The Slovak Republic improved its credit information system by guaranteeing by law the right of borrowers to inspect their own data.
Areas of business regulation reform: Getting credit (credit information)
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 48     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 43

Slovenia made transferring property easier and less costly by introducing online procedures and reducing fees. In addition, it simplified and streamlined the insolvency process and strengthened professional requirements for insolvency administrators. Slovenia made trading across borders faster by introducing online submission of customs declaration forms.
Areas of business regulation reform: Registering property, Resolving insolvency, Trading across borders
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 37     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 37

Spain made starting a business easier by reducing the cost and by reducing the minimum capital requirement.
Areas of business regulation reform: Starting a business
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 44     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 45

Sweden increased the cost of transferring property between companies by increasing the stamp duty from 3 percent of the property value to 4.25 percent for buyers of real estate that are corporate entities.
Areas of business regulation reform: Registering property (making it more difficult)
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 14     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 9

Switzerland made getting electricity less costly by revising the conditions for connections. And it made resolving insolvency easier by introducing a unified civil procedure code and making a number of changes to its federal bankruptcy law.
Areas of business regulation reform: Getting electricity, Resolving insolvency
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 26     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 22

The United Kingdom made dealing with construction permits easier by increasing efficiency in the issuance of planning permits.
Areas of business regulation reform: Dealing with construction permits
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 7     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 6

The United States
Rank in Doing Business 2012: 4     Rank in Doing Business 2011: 4

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For more information on Doing Business 2012, please contact:
Nadine Ghannam +1 (202) 473-3011                      
E-mail: nsghannam@ifc.org 

Sushmitha Narsiah +1 (202) 473-0995
E-mail: snarsiah@worldbank.org                       

Contacts for region-specific queries on Doing Business 2012:

Valerie Chevalier +33 (0) 1 40-69-3048                
E-mail: vchevalier@worldbank.org 

Oliver Griffith  +33 (6) 24-10- 2924
E-mail: ogriffith@ifc.org

Andrea Engel +32 (2) 552-00-39   
E-mail: aengel@ifc.org  

Derek Warren +44 (207) 592-8402
E-mail: dwarren1@worldbank.org