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Sebastian Beer and Dan Devlin
Profit shifting remains a key concern in international tax system debate, but discussions are largely based on aggregate estimates, with less attention paid to individual sectors. Drawing on a novel dataset, we quantify tax avoidance risks in the extractive industries, a sector which is revenue critical for many developing economies. We find that a one percentage point increase in the domestic corporate tax rate has historically reduced sectoral profits by slightly over 3 percent; and the response tends to be more pronounced among mining than among hydrocarbon firms. There is only weak evidence transfer pricing rules contain tax minimization efforts of MNEs in our sample, but interest limitation rules (e.g., thin capitalization or earnings based rules) do reduce the observable extent of profit shifting. Our findings highlight the challenge of taxing income in the natural resource sector and suggest how fiscal regime design might be strengthened.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
Mr. Yasser Abdih and Leandro Medina
This study estimates the size of the informal economy, and the relative contribution of each underlying factor, for the Caucasus and Central Asia countries in 2008. Using a Multiple Indicator-Multiple Cause model, we find that a burdensome tax system, rigid labor market, low institutional quality, and excessive regulation in financial and products markets are determinant factors in explaining the size of the informal economy, which ranges from 26 percent of GDP in Kyrgyz Republic to around 35 percent of GDP in Armenia. Furthermore, the results show that higher levels of informality increase the levels of self employment and the percentage of currency held outside the banking system.
Mr. Nikolay Aleksandrov, Mr. lajos Gyurko, and Mr. Raphael A Espinoza
We study the optimal oil extraction strategy and the value of an oil field using a multiple real option approach. The numerical method is flexible enough to solve a model with several state variables, to discuss the effect of risk aversion, and to take into account uncertainty in the size of reserves. Optimal extraction in the baseline model is found to be volatile. If the oil producer is risk averse, production is more stable, but spare capacity is much higher than what is typically observed. We show that decisions are very sensitive to expectations on the equilibrium oil price using a mean reverting model of the oil price where the equilibrium price is also a random variable. Oil production was cut during the 2008–2009 crisis, and we find that the cut in production was larger for OPEC, for countries facing a lower discount rate, as predicted by the model, and for countries whose governments’ finances are less dependent on oil revenues. However, the net present value of a country’s oil reserves would be increased significantly (by 100 percent, in the most extreme case) if production was cut completely when prices fall below the country's threshold price. If several producers were to adopt such strategies, world oil prices would be higher but more stable.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper on Azerbaijan highlights that rapid non-oil growth since the onset of the oil boom has contributed to substantial reduction in poverty and inequality. To keep growth inclusive, there is a need to accelerate economic diversification and make the nonhydrocarbon private sector a self-sustaining engine of growth. Policy priorities include strengthening governance and the business environment and improving human capital and productive infrastructure to enhance the productivity of private investment. Expanding the relatively well-targeted social safety net will ensure coverage of the vulnerable groups.
Mr. Paulo A Medas and Ms. Daria V Zakharova
This paper proposes an integrated approach to fiscal policy analysis in oil producing countries (OPCs) geared towards addressing their unique and complex policy challenges. First, an accurate assessment of the fiscal stance in OPCs can be obscured by large and volatile oil revenue flows. Second, uncertain and volatile oil revenue flows can complicate the management of macroeconomic policies in these countries. Third, given the exhaustibility of oil reserves, OPCs need to address longer-term sustainability and intergenerational equity issues. The use of non-oil fiscal indicators, stress tests, medium-term frameworks, and permanent oil income models can greatly aid in addressing these challenges.
International Monetary Fund
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.