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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

1.0 A price index number is a summary measure of the proportionate or percentage change in a set of prices over time. Export and import price indices (XMPIs) measure the overall change in the price component of transactions in goods and services between the residents of an economic territory and residents of the rest of the world. The prices of different goods and services all do not change at the same rate. A price index thus summarizes their movement by averaging over them. A price index assumes a value of unity, or 100, in some reference period. The value of the index for other periods of time provides the average proportionate or percentage change in price from the reference period.

Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, Mr. Michael Keen, and Ms. Victoria J Perry

Abstract

Value-Added Tax or VAT, first introduced less than 50 years ago, remained confined to a handful of countries until the late 1960s. Today, however, most countries have a VAT, which raises, on average, about 25 percent of their tax revenue.2 This chapter defines what is meant by a VAT; documents both the remarkable spread and the current reach of the tax; considers the differences between countries with and without the tax; and develops some stylized facts on the typical experience of countries that have adopted a VAT.

Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, Mr. Michael Keen, and Ms. Victoria J Perry

Abstract

It is a common fear when a VAT is introduced or extended that there will be an adverse impact on poverty, or on the distribution of real income more generally. Many of the central issues raised by such a concern have been discussed at some length in Chapters 7 and 8 above, which considered the specific design issues of an appropriate rate structure and exemptions for the VAT. But the conceptual and practical considerations at stake are somewhat wider, and have in any event proved sufficiently widespread and powerful to merit explicit consideration. That is the task in this chapter.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

10.1 This chapter provides a general description with examples of the ways in which export and import price indices (XMPIs) are calculated in practice. The methods used in different countries are not exactly the same, but they have much in common.

Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, Mr. Michael Keen, and Ms. Victoria J Perry

Abstract

Experience has taught, sometimes harshly, that a critical decision in designing a VAT is the threshold level of firm size above which registration for the tax is compulsory. This chapter reviews the issues at stake.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

11.1 This chapter provides examples of how different national statistical agencies handle different commodities and explains some pricing issues important in international trade. The emphasis is on those areas in which price measurement generally is regarded as difficult; however, examples of routine commodity areas are included. It should be kept in mind that the presentation of these methods is not intended to convey them as “best practices.” In fact, it is recognized that in some cases a country’s circumstances likely will necessitate deviations from these methodologies. To underscore this point the discussion of each issue includes mention of outstanding issues—issues that point to problems in the described procedures.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

12.1 A number of sources of error and bias have been discussed in the preceding chapters and will be discussed again in subsequent chapters. The purpose of this chapter is to briefly summarize such sources to provide a readily accessible overview. Both conceptual and practical issues are covered. To be aware of the limitations of export and import price indices (XMPIs), it is necessary to consider what data are required, how they are to be collected, and how they are to be used to obtain overall summary measures of price changes. The production of XMPIs is not a trivial task, and any program of improvement must match the estimated cost of a potential improvement in accuracy against the likely gain. In some instances, one may have to take into account the user requirements necessary to meet specific needs or engender more faith in the index, in spite of the relatively limited gains in accuracy matched against their cost.

Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, Mr. Michael Keen, and Ms. Victoria J Perry

Abstract

The next few chapters more systemically address several major issues in administration of the VAT. They focus on areas where the need for strengthened performance has been identified. There are, of course, other areas, such as taxpayer registration and education, and enforcement of arrears, in which there has been important success and hence there is confidence in the basic reform strategy.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

13.1 Export and import price indices (XMPIs) are used for many purposes by government, business, labor, universities, and other kinds of organizations, as well as by members of the general public. Accuracy and reliability are paramount for a statistic as important as XMPIs. Whether XMPIs are used as a deflator of national account values, an indicator of inflation, in escalation of contracts, in assessing developments in the global economy such as exchange rate fluctuations, or in other economic analyses, the process of producing XMPIs needs to be carefully planned and executed.

Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, Mr. Michael Keen, and Ms. Victoria J Perry

Abstract

The VAT can play a pivotal role in developing modern methods of tax administration, based on effectively monitored voluntary compliance. This chapter deals with its role in respect of a key aspect of this approch to tax administration: self-assessment.