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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.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Ms. Anja Baum, Clay Hackney, Olamide Harrison, Keyra Primus, and Ms. Veronique Salins
How do countries mobilize large tax revenue—defined as an average increase in the tax-to-GDP ratio of 0.5 percent per year over three years or more? To answer this question, we build a novel dataset covering 55 episodes of large tax revenue mobilization in low-income countries and emerging markets. We find that: (i) reforms of indirect taxes and exemptions are the most common tax policy measures; (ii) multi-pronged tax administration reforms often go hand in hand with tax policy measures or are stand alone; and (iii) sustainability of the episodes hinges on tax administration reforms in the key compliance areas (risk-based audits, registration, filing, payment, and reporting).
Stephane Schlotterbeck
Over the past decade, governments in the Caribbean region have introduced the value-added tax (VAT) to modernize their tax system, rapidly mobilize revenue and reduce budget deficits. This paper analyzes VAT performance in the region and concludes that while it has boosted revenues, the VAT has not reached its potential. Intended as a broad-based tax with limited exemptions, a single rate and zero-rating confined to exports, the VAT’s design often lacks these characteristics. The paper also finds that although tax administration reforms can boost revenues, countries have just started to address organizational inefficiencies, data integrity issues, and operational ineffectiveness. These reforms need to intensify in order to have a more significant impact on compliance and revenue.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This paper focuses on tax reforms for increased buoyancy in The Bahamas. The Bahamas has a low tax effort owing to limited tax handles and underutilization of available ones. Real property tax collections as percent of GDP have doubled within a decade. In addition to the real property taxes, a graduated stamp duty on the conveyance of immovable property is imposed at fairly steep rates. As a requirement to World Trade Organization membership, the tariff rates will be lowered from their current levels. It is expected that revenue losses from tariff reduction will be compensated by value-added tax revenues.
Ms. Jingqing Chai and Rishi Goyal
Tax concessions have been employed as a central component of the development strategy in the small island states comprising the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. This paper compares the costs of concessions in terms of revenues forgone with the benefits in terms of increased foreign direct investment. The costs are very large, while the benefits appear to be marginal at best. Forgone tax revenues range between 9½ and 16 percent of GDP per year, whereas total foreign direct investment does not appear to depend on concessions. A rethinking of the use of concessions in the region is needed urgently.
International Monetary Fund
CARTAC, the second of the regional technical assistance centers, was created with singular emphasis on ownership of technical assistance by the beneficiary countries. To this end, it was structured as a UNDP project with the IMF as Executing Agency and with a Steering Committee empowered to give strategic guidance to the program and select its senior staff from short lists provided by the IMF. With the spread of the RTAC modality, the IMF has sought to bring the Centers' activities within the ambit of overall resource planning for technical assistance, ensure consistency with the institution's view on priorities for technical assistance in the countries concerned, and tighten quality control through backstopping. This has created the potential for conflict with the relative independence that CARTAC has enjoyed from its inception. The conclusion in this report, however, is that alignment with the IMF does not necessarily undermine country ownership and that the Steering Committee can play a pivotal role in defusing any tension that may arise.
International Monetary Fund
CARTAC, the second of the regional technical assistance centers, was created with singular emphasis on ownership of technical assistance by the beneficiary countries. To this end, it was structured as a UNDP project with the IMF as Executing Agency and with a Steering Committee empowered to give strategic guidance to the program and select its senior staff from short lists provided by the IMF. With the spread of the RTAC modality, the IMF has sought to bring the Centers' activities within the ambit of overall resource planning for technical assistance, ensure consistency with the institution's view on priorities for technical assistance in the countries concerned, and tighten quality control through backstopping. This has created the potential for conflict with the relative independence that CARTAC has enjoyed from its inception. The conclusion in this report, however, is that alignment with the IMF does not necessarily undermine country ownership and that the Steering Committee can play a pivotal role in defusing any tension that may arise.
Mr. Sebastian Sosa
Tax incentives have been used extensively in the countries of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) to promote investment. The associated revenue losses are large, and benefits in terms of new investment have been limited, raising doubts about the cost effectiveness of the tax incentive schemes. This paper examines the effects of incentives using the marginal effective tax rate approach (METR), adapting this methodology to the case of a small open economy where the marginal investor is a nonresident. The results show that METRs are high in the region; that there is a large dispersion in the size of METRs across financing source; and that METRs on investment are larger than the overall distortion on capital, with a substantial subsidy to domestic saving. In the presence of tax holidays-the most common incentive scheme in the region-the distortion on capital basically vanishes.