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Mario Pessoa, Andrew Okello, Artur Swistak, Muyangwa Muyangwa, Virginia Alonso-Albarran, and Vincent de Paul Koukpaizan
The value-added tax (VAT) has the potential to generate significant government revenue. Despite its intrinsic self-enforcement capacity, many tax administrations find it challenging to refund excess input credits, which is critical to a well-functioning VAT system. Improperly functioning VAT refund practices can have profound implications for fiscal policy and management, including inaccurate deficit measurement, spending overruns, poor budget credibility, impaired treasury operations, and arrears accumulation.This note addresses the following issues: (1) What are VAT refunds and why should they be managed properly? (2) What practices should be put in place (in tax policy, tax administration, budget and treasury management, debt, and fiscal statistics) to help manage key aspects of VAT refunds? For a refund mechanism to be credible, the tax administration must ensure that it is equipped with the strategies, processes, and abilities needed to identify VAT refund fraud. It must also be prepared to act quickly to combat such fraud/schemes.
Mr. Ricardo Fenochietto and Juan Carlos Benitez
This paper analyses and compares two different groups of tools, the first to encourage the use of invoices (or payment systems) and the second to refund the VAT to low-income individuals. The analysis contributes to the existing literature by providing a clear characterization between these two groups of tools that are too often misunderstood and offers clear guidance to policymakers on the benefits and pitfalls of them based on available empirical studies and novel data analysis. Briefly, the first group includes a set of regressive and distortive tools (such as, allowing deducting the VAT paid on personal consumption from the PIT and reducing the VAT rate for using electronic means of payments or registration), while the second group includes tools that are less distortionary and improve income distribution (tax credits and VAT rate reduction targeted only at low-income individuals). This paper also finds that allowing the deduction of personal consumption against the PIT’s taxable base (i) did not impact positively the VAT revenue in Guatemala and (ii) worsens the income distribution in Ecuador.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Florian Misch, Mr. Duncan Cleary, and Munawer Khwaja
Tax compliance costs tend to be disproportionately higher for small and young businesses. This paper examines how the quality of tax administration affects firm performance for a large sample of firms in emerging market and developing economies. We construct a novel, internationally comparable, and multidimensional index of tax administration quality (the TAQI) using information from the Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool. We show that better tax administration attenuates the productivity gap of small and young firms relative to larger and older firms, a result that is robust to controlling for other aspects of tax policy and of economic governance, alternative definitions of small and young firms, and measures of the quality of tax administration. From a policy perspective, we provide evidence that countries can reap growth and productivity dividends from improvements in tax administration that lower compliance costs faced by firms.
Mr. Giovanni Melina, Ms. Susan S. Yang, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
This paper presents the DIGNAR (Debt, Investment, Growth, and Natural Resources) model, which can be used to analyze the debt sustainability and macroeconomic effects of public investment plans in resource-abundant developing countries. DIGNAR is a dynamic, stochastic model of a small open economy. It has two types of households, including poor households with no access to financial markets, and features traded and nontraded sectors as well as a natural resource sector. Public capital enters production technologies, while public investment is subject to inefficiencies and absorptive capacity constraints. The government has access to different types of debt (concessional, domestic and external commercial) and a resource fund, which can be used to finance public investment plans. The resource fund can also serve as a buffer to absorb fiscal balances for given projections of resource revenues and public investment plans. When the fund is drawn down to its minimal value, a combination of external and domestic borrowing can be used to cover the fiscal gap in the short to medium run. Fiscal adjustments through tax rates and government non-capital expenditures—which may be constrained by ceilings and floors, respectively—are then triggered to maintain debt sustainability. The paper illustrates how the model can be particularly useful to assess debt sustainability in countries that borrow against future resource revenues to scale up public investment.
Mr. Mauricio Villafuerte, Mr. Rolando Ossowski, Mr. Theo Thomas, and Mr. Paulo A Medas

Abstract

Oil-producing countries have benefited from rising oil prices in recent years. The increase in oil exports and oil revenues has had major implications for these countries. These developments have revealed how governments manage their fiscal policies in light of changing oil-market conditions and the role of special fiscal institutions (SFIs). In this Occasional Paper, IMF experts examine the fiscal response of oil-producing countries to the recent oil boom and the role of SFIs in fiscal management, they review the experiences of selected countries, and they draw general lessons. In doing so, they link findings on best practice in the design of SFIs with broader fiscal management advice.

International Monetary Fund
This paper examines the fiscal responses of oil-producing countries (OPCs) to the oil boom through 2005 and the role of special fiscal institutions (SFIs)—oil funds, fiscal rules and fiscal responsibility legislation (FRL), and budgetary oil prices—in fiscal management in OPCs, and draws some general lessons.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
Research summaries on (1) public investment, and (2) bank transaction taxes; announcement of forthcoming (November 2006) Jacques Polak Seventh Annual Research Conference; country study on Italy; listing of contents of Vol. 53, No. 2 of IMF Staff Papers, summary of recently published book entitled "Divergent Paths in Post-Communist Transformation: Capitalism for All or Capitalism for the Few?"; summary of (January 2006) Warsaw Conference on European Union (EU) enlargement and related flows of labor and capital; listing of recent IMF Working Papers; and listing of visiting scholars at IMF, January-April 2006.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes economic performance of Ecuador under dollarization. The paper reviews the principal trade-offs normally associated with official dollarization, and their specific relevance to Ecuador. It discusses Ecuador’s performance under the dollarization regime, highlighting the country’s main achievements and challenges in the macroeconomic and structural areas. The paper draws some conclusions and discusses what dollarization implies for Ecuador’s reform agenda in the future. The paper also assesses sustainability of Ecuador’s fiscal policy and explores criteria that could guide the setting of fiscal policy in the future.