This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix for Azerbaijan aims to provide a guide to the management of Azerbaijan’s expected natural resource-generated windfall. The paper provides information on Azerbaijan’s endowment of oil and gas deposits and the projected revenue stream, and highlights the common characteristics of policies leading to the mismanagement of natural resource wealth in natural resource-abundant countries. It also outlines a medium- and long-term policy strategy for oil wealth management in Azerbaijan.
This Selected Issues paper on the Republic of Moldova was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund as background documentation for the periodic consultation with the member country. It is based on the information available at the time it was completed on September 17, 2012. The views expressed in this document are those of the staff team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the government of the Republic of Moldova or the Executive Board of the IMF.
This Selected Issues paper examines the reasons behind Lithuania’s low tax-GDP ratio relative to the European Union (EU). At end-2015, Lithuania had nearly the lowest tax-GDP ratio in the EU, along with Bulgaria and Romania. The tax revenue shortfall relative to the EU is for the most part attributable to weak tax administration and tax policy, with the structure of the economy playing a secondary role. The second largest contribution to the tax revenue shortfall relative to the EU comes from social security contributions. The shortfall is driven primarily by the structure of the economy, and to a smaller extent by tax administration.
This Selected Issues Paper quantifies the variability of tax elasticities in Lithuania using two alternative methods: rolling regressions and pooled mean group estimator. The analysis is motivated by the systematic variation of tax revenues observed over the economic cycle. Both methods confirm that tax elasticities moved with the cycle, which can be attributed to the procyclical tax compliance tendencies and structural composition effects across tax bases. The results of the study emphasize the importance of accounting for cyclical variation in tax elasticities when making short-term tax revenue projections.
Mr. Ricardo Varsano, Kevin Kim, and Mr. Michael Keen
One of the most striking tax developments in recent years, and one that continues to attract considerable attention, is the adoption by several countries of a form of "flat tax." Discussion of these quite radical reforms has been marked, however, more by assertion and rhetoric than by analysis and evidence. This paper reviews experience with the flat tax, seeking to redress the balance. It stresses that the flat taxes that have been adopted differ fundamentally, and that empirical evidence on their effects is very limited. This precludes simple generalization, but several lessons emerge: there is no sign of Laffer-type behavioral responses generating revenue increases from the tax cut elements of these reforms; their impact on compliance is theoretically ambiguous, but there is evidence for Russia that compliance did improve; the distributional effects of the flat taxes are not unambiguously regressive, and in some cases they may have increased progressivity, including through the impact on compliance; adoption of the flat tax has not resolved common challenges in taxing capital income; and it may have strengthened, not weakened, the automatic stabilizers. Looking forward, the question is not so much whether more countries will adopt a flat tax as whether those that have will move away from it.
This Selected Issues paper examines figures related to the key policy areas for the Kyrgyz Republic. Specifically, the paper studies the sources of growth, the cost competitiveness of export, and trade restrictions in the region, which are all linked to the achievement of the growth and poverty reduction targets of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy. It addresses the issues of agricultural taxation and fiscal aspects of the environment. The paper also focuses on a specific structural problem in taxation, and analyzes the fiscal aspects of environmental protection.
This paper addresses core challenges that all tax administrations face in dealing with noncompliance—which are now receiving renewed attention. Long a priority in developing countries, assuring strong compliance has acquired greater priority in countries facing intensified revenue needs, and is critical for fairness and statebuilding.
Series: Policy Papers
Staff Discussion Notes showcase the latest policy-related analysis and research being developed by individual IMF staff and are published to elicit comment and to further debate. These papers are generally brief and written in nontechnical language, and so are aimed at a broad audience interested in economic policy issues. This Web-only series replaced Staff Position Notes in January 2011.