23% of businesses think that a global agreement on tax transparency and avoidance could not be reached, according to a new report by professional services network, Grant Thornton (GT).

Businesses in the UK were even more pessimistic, with only 8% believing there could be an agreement.

GT say that the process of coming to international agreement is too complicated.

Mike Lambert, a partner at GT, said:

“You just have to look at recent climate change negotiations to see how hard it is to build multilateral agreements on complex issues where different territories are fighting to protect sovereignty.”

44% of businesses worldwide said that they thought global tax reforms would help them grow their operations, with 26% of firms in the UK thinking the same.

Businesses in Latin America and Europe, especially, want to see more transparency on acceptable tax planning, with 92% and 76% respectively thinking this would lead to improved global tax systems.

GT said they had been looking into this ever since the tax avoidance schemes of big companies such as Starbucks and Amazon were revealed last year.

Wendy Nicholls, also a partner at GT, said:

“International tax standards clearly need to be stripped down and rebuilt for the world we live in today. The existing legislation is no longer fit for purpose in an increasingly interconnected, digital world in which the definition of a ‘border’ is archaic and next to meaningless.”

Image by Ricardo