The main reasons for Germany’s slide from twelfth to sixteenth place is a significant loss of tax competitiveness. This is one of the results of the the Country Index for Family Businesses, which evaluates Germany’s attractiveness as a location.
The current rankings are led by Switzerland, followed by the United Kingdom and the United States. How the imminent Brexit will affect the positioning is hard to predict. The United States has been heading upwards since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency. However, this result could be jeopardised in the future by the administration’s strong protectionist stance, which would be coupled with new impediments to foreign trade. The data do not yet take account of the comprehensive tax reform that went into effect in 2018. With the new tax laws, the United States might even oust Switzerland from first place in the overall assessment. France, Spain and Italy are at the bottom of the rankings – all of them unchanged from the comparative calculation for the Country Index 2016.
Inheritance tax reform, with its much higher financial burden on family companies, is not the only issue responsible for the unfavourable assessment of the German tax system. Germany also has to cope with the consequences of a whole decade of inactivity regarding the taxation of business activities – a decade during which the country’s competitors were highly active. Additional reasons for Germany’s slide are continuously poorer scores in the areas of “infrastructure and institutions” and “energy”.
Conceived as a location comparison that specifically encompasses the perspective of large family businesses, the index analyses and compares criteria that are important to such businesses in Germany with those in competitor countries.
The full German version of the Country Index for Family Businesses has been published by the Foundation for Family Businesses. The English text presented here summarizes the main findings of the original version.