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Mr. Christophe J Waerzeggers and Mr. Cory Hillier
Advance tax rulings are a common feature of mature tax systems. The tax systems of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, and South Africa all have established ruling practices. Taxpayers can obtain an advance tax ruling in nearly all OECD member countries. Increasingly, many non-OECD countries are also offering advance tax rulings. An advance tax ruling regime seeks to promote clarity and consistency regarding the application of the tax law for both taxpayers and the tax authority. However, there are also inherent risks associated with the proliferation of granting confidential advance tax rulings which are not published or otherwise reported. This Tax Law IMF Technical Note focuses on designing an advance tax ruling regime in the nature of private tax rulings.
Mr. Sandeep Saxena and Sami Ylaoutinen
Virements are useful instruments of budget flexibility. If carried out transparently and within accepted limits, virements can promote expenditure efficiency. Large, unregulated virements can undermine budget credibility and the budget’s relevance as principal policy and financial planning instrument. This note defines virements, clarifies their purpose, and specifies what general and country-specific considerations should guide the design of a virement framework. The note argues that countries should design virement policies maintaining balance between their budget flexibility and accountability needs, and keeping in view the legal-cultural environment and the state of development of their public financial management.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper takes stock of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Poverty has receded in the DRC over the last decade on the back of gradual stabilization in the security and political situation, strong economic growth, and sharp decline in inflationary pressures. Most social indicators also improved during the period. However, poverty remains pervasive with a level still among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, and DRC will likely not achieve any of the Millennium Developments Goals by 2015. Policy actions should focus on fostering the development of labor-intensive sector, increasing social spending, and redirecting public resources to the poorest regions of the country.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This Technical Assistance report reviews South Africa’s tax system and also examines the fiscal regime with a view to generating a sustainable revenue contribution from mining and petroleum in future. Mining has historically been the mainstay of the South African economy. Mineral exports remain the principal contributor to foreign exchange earnings on the current account. South Africa is not yet a significant producer of crude oil or natural gas. Oil and gas exploration nevertheless shows promise. Taxation is far from top of the list in current challenges facing the development of extractive industries in South Africa. The national goal of economic and social transformation in favor of Historically Disadvantaged South Africans has major impact on the mining sector.
Mr. Paul Cashin, Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes, and Mr. Mehdi Raissi
This paper employs a dynamic multi-country framework to analyze the international macroeconomic transmission of El Niño weather shocks. This framework comprises 21 country/region-specific models, estimated over the period 1979Q2 to 2013Q1, and accounts for not only direct exposures of countries to El Niño shocks but also indirect effects through thirdmarkets. We contribute to the climate-macroeconomy literature by exploiting exogenous variation in El Niño weather events over time, and their impact on different regions crosssectionally, to causatively identify the effects of El Niño shocks on growth, inflation, energy and non-fuel commodity prices. The results show that there are considerable heterogeneities in the responses of different countries to El Niño shocks. While Australia, Chile, Indonesia, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa face a short-lived fall in economic activity in response to an El Niño shock, for other countries (including the United States and European region), an El Niño occurrence has a growth-enhancing effect. Furthermore, most countries in our sample experience short-run inflationary pressures as both energy and non-fuel commodity prices increase. Given these findings, macroeconomic policy formulation should take into consideration the likelihood and effects of El Niño weather episodes.

Abstract

Does the European Union need closer fiscal integration, and in particular a stronger fiscal centre, to become more resilient to economic shocks? This book looks at the experience of 13 federal states to help inform the heated debate on this issue. It analyses in detail their practices in devolving responsibilities from the subnational to the central level, compares them to those of the European Union, and draws lessons for a possible future fiscal union in Europe. More specifically, this book tries to answer three sets of questions: What is the role of centralized fiscal policies in federations, and hence the size, features and functions of the central budget? What institutional arrangements are used to coordinate fiscal policy between the federal and subnational levels? What are the links between federal and subnational debt, and how have subnational financing crises been handled, when they occurred? These policy questions are critical in many federations, and central to the current discussions about future paths for the European Union. This book brings to the table new, practical insights through a systematic and comprehensive comparison of the EU fiscal framework with that of federal states. It also departs from the decentralization perspective that has been prominent in the literature by focusing on the role of the centre (which responsibilities are centralized at the federal level and how they are handled, rather than which functions belong to the local level). Such an approach is particularly relevant for the European Union, where a fiscal union would imply granting new powers to the centre.