The purpose of this note is to provide a framework for improving tax policy design in fragile and conflict-affected states, which face political and institutional constraints. This note begins with an overview of experiences in revenue mobilization in fragile states, including relative to other country groups—in particular, nonfragile states and formerly fragile states; that is, countries that exited fragility during the period under study. A discussion follows of how the principles of tax policy design should be applied in fragile states, particularly the relative importance of the revenue objective vis-à-vis other objectives, such as equity and efficiency. The two sections that follow provide guidance on tax policy design in the emergency and consolidation phases, respectively, and discuss how governments can use tax policy to transition from one phase to another, eventually overcoming fragility. The note concludes with key lessons and a set of guiding principles for tax reform in fragile states.
Statistical agencies worldwide are increasingly turning to new data sources, including administrative data, to improve statistical coverage. Administrative data can significantly enhance the quality of national statistics and produce synergies with tax administration and other government agencies, supporting better decision making, policy advice, and economic performance. Compared to economic censuses and business surveys, administrative data are less burdensome to collect and produce more timely, detailed, and accurate data with better coverage. This paper specifically explores the use of value added tax and income tax records to enhance the compilation of national accounts statistics.
This Selected Issues paper describes Uganda’s experience under the 2013 Policy Support Instrument (PSI). The current 2013 PSI was approved by the IMF’s Executive Board in June 2013 with an initial duration of three years. Overall, performance under this PSI has been assessed to be satisfactory. Most quantitative assessment criteria were met, and macroeconomic stability maintained. However, the pace of structural reforms slowed down compared with the past, and only about half of the structural benchmarks were ultimately met. The experience shows the importance of ensuring commitment to the reforms, explaining them better, and getting broad-based buy-in to achieve progress.
Modern tax administrations seek to optimize tax collections while minimizing administration costs and taxpayer compliance costs. Experience shows that voluntary compliance is best achieved through a system of self-assessment. Many tax administrations have introduced self-assessment principles in the income tax law but the legal authority is not being consistently applied. They continue to rely heavily on “desk” auditing a majority of tax returns, while risk management practices remain largely underdeveloped and/or underutilized. There is also plenty of opportunity in many countries to enhance the design and delivery of client-focused taxpayer service programs, and better engage with the private sector and other stakeholders.