Emmanouil Kitsios, João Tovar Jalles, and Ms. Genevieve Verdier
How can governments reduce the prevalence of cross-border tax fraud? This paper argues that the use of digital technologies offers an opportunity to reduce fraud and increase government revenue. Using data on intra-EU and world trade transactions, we present evidence that (i) cross-border trade tax fraud is non-trivial and prevalent in many countries; (ii) such fraud can be alleviated by the use of digital technologies at the border; and (iii) potential revenue gains of digitalization from reducing trade fraud could be substantial. Halving the distance to the digitalization frontier could raise revenues by over 1.5 percent of GDP in low-income developing countries.
This Selected Issues paper reviews the level and structure of tax revenues in Romania and proposes options to improve revenue mobilization drawing from other countries’ experiences. Tax revenue in Romania is low compared with peers and has been declining over time. Strengthening the tax administration is crucial to improving tax collection efficiency in Romania, and requires commitment and ownership at the highest levels. Implementing and operationalizing new information technology infrastructure in Romania is a key priority, given its outdated and fragile systems. Romania should also conduct a comprehensive review of its tax system. This review would guide future reform needs in the area of tax policy with the primarily focus on improving revenue productivity and the growth-friendliness of the tax system.
This Selected Issues paper examines the reasons behind Lithuania’s low tax-GDP ratio relative to the European Union (EU). At end-2015, Lithuania had nearly the lowest tax-GDP ratio in the EU, along with Bulgaria and Romania. The tax revenue shortfall relative to the EU is for the most part attributable to weak tax administration and tax policy, with the structure of the economy playing a secondary role. The second largest contribution to the tax revenue shortfall relative to the EU comes from social security contributions. The shortfall is driven primarily by the structure of the economy, and to a smaller extent by tax administration.
This paper addresses core challenges that all tax administrations face in dealing with noncompliance—which are now receiving renewed attention. Long a priority in developing countries, assuring strong compliance has acquired greater priority in countries facing intensified revenue needs, and is critical for fairness and statebuilding.
Series: Policy Papers
Vincent Belinga, Ms. Dora Benedek, Ruud A. de Mooij, and Mr. John Norregaard
By how much will faster economic growth boost government revenue? This paper estimates short- and long-run tax buoyancy in OECD countries between 1965 and 2012. We find that, for aggregate tax revenues, short-run tax buoyancy does not significantly differ from one in the majority of countries; yet, it has increased since the late 1980s so that tax systems have generally become better automatic stabilizers. Long-run buoyancy exceeds one in about half of the OECD countries, implying that GDP growth has helped improve structural fiscal deficit ratios. Corporate taxes are by far the most buoyant, while excises and property taxes are the least buoyant. For personal income taxes and social contributions, short- and long-run buoyancies have declined since the late 1980s and have, on average, become lower than one.
This Selected Issues Paper quantifies the variability of tax elasticities in Lithuania using two alternative methods: rolling regressions and pooled mean group estimator. The analysis is motivated by the systematic variation of tax revenues observed over the economic cycle. Both methods confirm that tax elasticities moved with the cycle, which can be attributed to the procyclical tax compliance tendencies and structural composition effects across tax bases. The results of the study emphasize the importance of accounting for cyclical variation in tax elasticities when making short-term tax revenue projections.
This paper analyzes developments in non-oil tax policy, administration, and revenues in Azerbaijan, and suggests measures for further improvement. The main finding is that Azerbaijan's non-oil tax revenues increased significantly as a share of non-oil GDP in the last five years, but remain below potential. The non-oil tax revenue shortfall is mainly due to widespread exemptions, but there is scope for strengthening tax and customs administration. In the short term, expanding the tax base and better tax and customs administration will yield more revenues. In the medium term, more far-reaching reforms including reducing some direct tax rates, should be considered. The overall reform package could be made broadly revenue neutral by improving taxpayers' compliance and reducing exemptions.