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Mario Pessoa, Andrew Okello, Artur Swistak, Muyangwa Muyangwa, Virginia Alonso-Albarran, and Vincent de Paul Koukpaizan
The value-added tax (VAT) has the potential to generate significant government revenue. Despite its intrinsic self-enforcement capacity, many tax administrations find it challenging to refund excess input credits, which is critical to a well-functioning VAT system. Improperly functioning VAT refund practices can have profound implications for fiscal policy and management, including inaccurate deficit measurement, spending overruns, poor budget credibility, impaired treasury operations, and arrears accumulation.This note addresses the following issues: (1) What are VAT refunds and why should they be managed properly? (2) What practices should be put in place (in tax policy, tax administration, budget and treasury management, debt, and fiscal statistics) to help manage key aspects of VAT refunds? For a refund mechanism to be credible, the tax administration must ensure that it is equipped with the strategies, processes, and abilities needed to identify VAT refund fraud. It must also be prepared to act quickly to combat such fraud/schemes.
Kiyoshi Nakayama
A well-designed regional tax treaty to which developing countries are signatories will include provisions securing minimum withholding taxes on investment income and technical service fees, a taxing right in respect of capital gains from indirect offshore transfers, and guarding against-treaty shopping. A tax treaty policy framework—national or regional—that specifies the main policy outcomes to be achieved before negotiations commence would enable developing countries with more limited expertise and lower capacity for tax treaty negotiations to avoid concluding problematic tax treaties. This note provides guidance for members of regional economic communities in the developing world on what should and should not be included in a regional tax treaty and how to design on a common tax treaty policy framework for use in negotiations of bilateral tax treaties with nonmembers.
Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, Ms. Inci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, and Karim Youssef
Deeper economic integration within the Caribbean has been a regional policy priority since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the decision to create the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Implementation of integration initiatives has, however, been slow, despite the stated commitment of political leaders. The “implementation deficit” has led to skepticism about completing the CSME and controversy regarding its benefits. This paper analyzes how Caribbean integration has evolved, discusses the obstacles to progress, and explores the potential benefits from greater integration. It argues that further economic integration through liberalization of trade and labor mobility can generate significant macroeconomic benefits, but slow progress in completing the institutional arrangements has hindered implementation of the essential components of the CSME and progress in economic integration. Advancing institutional integration through harmonization and rationalization of key institutions and processes can reduce the fixed costs of institutions, providing the needed scale and boost to regional integration. Greater cooperation in several functional policy areas where the region is facing common challenges can also provide low-hanging fruit, creating momentum toward full integration as the Community continues to address the obstacles to full economic integration.
International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department, International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, and International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper reviews the Fund’s policy on multiple currency practices (MCPs). There remain strong economic and legal reasons to retain a policy on MCPs. The over-arching aim of the review is to make the policy and its application more effective. Based on this review, the paper proposes initial considerations for reforming features of the policy that have created challenges. • Clarifying the concept of “official action” to focus on measures that segment FX markets. • Eliminating potentiality. • Updating the threshold for permissible FX spreads. • Adjusting approval policies. • Reviewing links with capital transactions. • Considering merits of a remedial framework.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
Over the last decade, Aruba has faced three recessions resulting in a public debt of approximately 90 percent of GDP. Its current budget deficit needs to be reduced and Aruba should close a fiscal gap of 1.5-2 percent of GDP over the next two to three years to return to a sustainable path. Earlier this year, the authorities have introduced a crisis package, mainly by increasing the turnover taxes. This temporary tax measure should be replaced by a tax reform that will modernize and simplify the current system. The new tax system should not only raise more revenue, but also shift the tax burden away from income and profits toward consumption. The current system is not well equipped to make these changes. In replacing the crisis levy, the Government sees an opportunity to streamline the current tax system, modernize it, and make it more sustainable for the future needs of Aruba.
Ms. Thornton Matheson and Patrick Petit
Developing countries apply numerous sector-specific taxes to telecommunications, whose buoyant revenues and formal enterprises provide a convenient “tax handle”. This paper explores whether there is an economic rationale for sector-specific taxes on telecommunications and, if so, what form they should take to balance the competing goals of promoting connectivity and mobilizing revenues. A survey of the literature finds that limited telecoms competition likely creates rents that could efficiently be taxed. We propose a “pecking order” of sector-specific taxes that could be levied in addition to standard income and value-added taxes, based on capturing rents and minimizing distortions. Taxes that target possible economic rents or profits are preferable, but their administrative challenges may necessitate reliance on service excises at the cost of higher consumer prices and lower connectivity. Taxes on capital inputs and consumer access, which distort production and restrict network access, should be avoided; so should tax incentives, which are not needed to attract foreign capital to tap a local market.