Mr. Sanjaya P Panth, Mr. Paul Cashin, and Mr. W. A Bauer
The Caribbean has made substantial progress in recent years in implementing economic reforms, both at the national and regional level. The Caribbean: Enhancing Economic Integration examines the product of the efforts made by Caribbean policymakers to strengthen regional cooperation and integration, which has yielded economic transformation and tighter integration with the global economy. This volume discusses regional financial integration as a means of deepening financial systems and raising regional growth; the relationship between tax incentives and investment, where harmonized regional action is important in seeking to overcome collective actions problems; and the consequences for the Caribbean of the erosion of trade preferences in key export markets. The book is based on empirical research carried out as part of the IMF's regional surveillance work in the Caribbean.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that the first quarter of 1981 was marked by a number of notable accomplishments in meeting the challenges currently facing the IMF. In addition to the completion of the final loan disbursements from the Trust Fund, the simplification of the SDR basket, and the decision to continue enlarged access to the IMF’s resources, the IMF reached agreement in principle with Saudi Arabia on a quota increase and on an arrangement to borrow resources to permit the IMF to continue its lending operations without interruption and for the smooth functioning of the recycling process.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Macroeconomic outturns are steadily improving. After 7 consecutive quarters of positive growth, real GDP seems on target to grow by 1.7 percent in FY16/17, driven by agriculture, construction, and tourism. Inflation and the current account deficit remain contained, supported by low oil prices. Employment is growing, but unemployment is a chronic issue. Business and consumer confidence are near historic highs. The 7 percent of GDP primary surplus target is set to be reached, and public debt is on a downward path.
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.
A well-designed regional tax treaty to which developing countries are signatories will include provisions securing minimum withholding taxes on investment income and technical service fees, a taxing right in respect of capital gains from indirect offshore transfers, and guarding against-treaty shopping. A tax treaty policy framework—national or regional—that specifies the main policy outcomes to be achieved before negotiations commence would enable developing countries with more limited expertise and lower capacity for tax treaty negotiations to avoid concluding problematic tax treaties. This note provides guidance for members of regional economic communities in the developing world on what should and should not be included in a regional tax treaty and how to design on a common tax treaty policy framework for use in negotiations of bilateral tax treaties with nonmembers.
Over the last decade, Aruba has faced three recessions resulting in a public debt of approximately 90 percent of GDP. Its current budget deficit needs to be reduced and Aruba should close a fiscal gap of 1.5-2 percent of GDP over the next two to three years to return to a sustainable path. Earlier this year, the authorities have introduced a crisis package, mainly by increasing the turnover taxes. This temporary tax measure should be replaced by a tax reform that will modernize and simplify the current system.
The new tax system should not only raise more revenue, but also shift the tax burden away from income and profits toward consumption. The current system is not well equipped to make these changes. In replacing the crisis levy, the Government sees an opportunity to streamline the current tax system, modernize it, and make it more sustainable for the future needs of Aruba.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix reviews developments in the energy sector of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago during 1997–99, and assesses the outlook for energy-related industries. The paper highlights that in 1998, the decline of mature fields was exacerbated by the low price of oil experienced during the year, which made exploitation of some fields uneconomic. The paper examines the fiscal sustainability of energy resources. It also analyzes trade liberalization that has been an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to restructure its economy for sustained growth.
Developing countries apply numerous sector-specific taxes to telecommunications, whose buoyant revenues and formal enterprises provide a convenient “tax handle”. This paper explores whether there is an economic rationale for sector-specific taxes on telecommunications and, if so, what form they should take to balance the competing goals of promoting connectivity and mobilizing revenues. A survey of the literature finds that limited telecoms competition likely creates rents that could efficiently be taxed. We propose a “pecking order” of sector-specific taxes that could be levied in addition to standard income and value-added taxes, based on capturing rents and minimizing distortions. Taxes that target possible economic rents or profits are preferable, but their administrative challenges may necessitate reliance on service excises at the cost of higher consumer prices and lower connectivity. Taxes on capital inputs and consumer access, which distort production and restrict network access, should be avoided; so should tax incentives, which are not needed to attract foreign capital to tap a local market.
Over the past decade, governments in the Caribbean region have introduced the value-added tax (VAT) to modernize their tax system, rapidly mobilize revenue and reduce budget deficits. This paper analyzes VAT performance in the region and concludes that while it has boosted revenues, the VAT has not reached its potential. Intended as a broad-based tax with limited exemptions, a single rate and zero-rating confined to exports, the VAT’s design often lacks these characteristics.
The paper also finds that although tax administration reforms can boost revenues, countries have just started to address organizational inefficiencies, data integrity issues, and operational ineffectiveness. These reforms need to intensify in order to have a more significant impact on compliance and revenue.