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 evaluates observance of the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision in the Russian Federation. The legal framework currently in place provides the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) with necessary powers and responsibilities. The CBR may authorize banks, conduct ongoing supervision, oversee compliance with laws, and undertake corrective action to address safety and soundness. Major new reforms increase many aspects of the CBR’s duties and powers, although implementation has not yet been tested in all cases. The Russian licensing regime for banks appears exhaustive. However, the legal regime for major acquisitions was found to be weak.
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
Fiscal expansion after euro accession led to a buildup of large economic imbalances, and a program to make fiscal policy and the fiscal and debt position sustainable was initiated. However, the program saw opposition from the outset and structural reforms stalled, which unsettled the investment climate. The Greek government’s determination to push ahead with reforms has seen progress in fiscal adjustment and perseverance of the financial sector. However, the social cost of the recession has been very high, and the current program can only succeed if policymakers address the root causes.
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.
In Lithuania, the case for complementing the on going fiscal adjustment with revenue measures is strong. In addition to supporting the adjustment, options to raise revenue need to be tailored to enhance growth and export competitiveness. International and empirical evidence suggest important scope for revenue-enhancing tax reforms in Lithuania. Lithuania is in a position to rebalance growth towards exports. Executive Directors suggest a broad tax reform strategy that could raise revenue and tax new revenue sources while supporting growth, competitiveness, and equity to substantially bolster revenues.
This paper discusses key findings of the Detailed Assessment on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) for the Republic of Latvia. The assessment reveals that aspects of Latvia’s financial services market expose it to a high risk of money laundering. There are welcome indications that money laundering risks have been reduced substantially owing to strong preventive measures being implemented by the authorities and financial institutions. The authorities and financial institutions are working to restore the international reputation of the Latvian financial sector.
This report reviews the Observance of Standards and Codes on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) for the Republic of Latvia. Latvia has taken strong measures in recent years, through legislative amendments and improvements in implementation, to address deficiencies in its AML/CFT framework and move closer to compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations. Most of the necessary AML/CFT institutions and legal framework are now in place, although coverage of some designated nonfinancial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) is not yet complete.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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This paper focuses on the Republic of Latvia’s First and Second Reviews Under the Stand-By Arrangement and a Request for a Waiver of a Performance Criterion. Latvia has continued to follow prudent macroeconomic policies. All performance criteria under the IMF-supported program have been observed—except that the end-December 2001 fiscal deficit ceiling was exceeded by 0.2 percent of GDP because of local government budget overruns. Key financial sector indicators suggest no major vulnerabilities at this time. The current account deficit remains the main risk to Latvia’s economy.