With the U.S. federal deficit mounting and budget demands soaring to fund wars, healthcare, education and retirement benefits, there's growing pressure to find new sources of government revenue. One that's perennially raised is the value-added tax or VAT–a tax levied on goods at every stage of production.

With the economy on the skids, it's unlikely we'll see a U.S. VAT anytime soon. But given that almost every other country has one (not having one puts the U.S. in the company of Greenland and Middle Eastern countries), a U.S. VAT seems likely someday. If so, what would it mean for businesses?

Peter Merrill, director of the national statistics group at PricewaterhouseCoopers, says it might not be that big a challenge for large multinationals. After all, he notes, they are dealing with a VAT in almost every other country they operate in.

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