The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Six Latin American countries have levied taxes on withdrawals from bank accounts, which have been viewed as a convenient tax handle during a difficult fiscal period. The paper reviews the arguments for and against this type of taxation, describes the taxes, and surveys their revenue performance and economic impact. It concludes that the recently implemented taxes have been successful in raising revenue in the short term, but that adverse allocational impacts have likely been significant. The tax may work better in times of fiscal crisis, when financial intermediation is deep, and when the tax rate is modest.