This How to Note examines the complex interplay between excise taxes on alcohol and alcoholic beverages, their revenue yield, and the public health concerns related to alcohol consumption. The note suggests guidance on how countries can approach the design of excise taxes on alcohol based on theoretical principles as well as empirical evidence drawn from international experience. Key questions addressed include: How important is alcohol consumption, and what form does it take across countries of different income levels? What has been the trend in alcohol excise tax revenue? How can countries design simple excise regimes that yield revenue while having the potential to contribute to reducing the externalities and internalities caused by alcohol consumption?
José Maria Pires, Stephen Howlin, and Mr. Frank van Brunschot
To improve the management of tax compliance risks, tax administrations are increasingly seeking opportunities to enhance their access and use of data. For many years, there has been a worldwide trend to implement electronic fiscal reporting (also known as fiscalization) to achieve these aims. Fiscalization refers to the process of automated reporting of a taxpayer’s business activities to the tax administration. When implemented as an integral part of compliance risk management processes, fiscalization will contribute to an improvement in tax compliance by making it easier for taxpayers to voluntarily comply, and discouraging taxpayers who may choose to not report their business transactions. However, fiscalization alone will not address all tax compliance risks. This how-to note provides practical guidance about the case for fiscalization and implementation approaches, including good practices and practices to avoid in relation to the key dimensions of fiscalization: data collection, data analysis, integration with compliance risk management, consumer engagement, and implementation.
A previous IMF Working Paper on value-added tax (VAT) refunds (WP/07/31, by Keen and Smith) describes the main forms of VAT noncompliance and concludes that VAT is susceptible to evasion and fraud like any other tax. This paper shows the insidious nature and extent of VAT refund fraud in selected EU countries and argues that this type of noncompliance requires tax administrations to adopt a coordinated strategy and deploy a range of countermeasures to combat this threat. Because such fraud is primarily a criminal legal issue, tackling it successfully will require cooperation, both internationally between VAT administrations and nationally between tax authorities and the judiciary. The paper’s focus is primarily on advanced economies in the context of the EU, but many of the recommendations are applicable to emerging market and developing countries. A separate IMF How to Note discusses managing VAT refunds in developing countries.
Turnover taxes are prevalent in developing countries as a simple form of presumptive taxation of business income. Such simplified tax regimes can reduce the relatively high compliance costs of micro and small enterprises, which might otherwise discourage entrepreneurs from formalizing their activities and paying taxes. The note addresses design issues for a turnover tax regime—which taxes it replaces, what the criteria are for eligibility, how to determine the optimal threshold, and how to set the tax rate. A key observation is that, although low turnover tax rates may incite larger firms to artificially reduce their sales, the rate should also not be so high as to discourage formalization of activities. A table of tax rates and turnover thresholds observed internationally is provided. The note concludes by suggesting analytical steps to guide practitioners in designing turnover tax regimes.
Ozlem Aydin Sakrak, Bryn Battersby, Mr. Fabien Gonguet, Mr. Claude P Wendling, Jacques Charaoui, Murray Petrie, and Suphachol Suphachalasai
This How to Note develops the “green public financial management (PFM)” framework briefly outlined in an earlier Staff Climate Note (2021/002, published in August 2021). It illustrates, how climate change and environmental concerns can be mainstreamed into government’s institutional arrangements in place to facilitate the implementation of fiscal policies. It provides numerous country examples covering possible entry points for green PFM – phases in the budget cycle (strategic planning and fiscal framework, budget preparation, budget execution and accounting, control, and audit), legal framework or issues that cut across the budget cycle, such as fiscal transparency or coordination with State Owned Enterprises or with subnational governments. This How to Note also summarizes practical guidance for implementation of a green PFM strategy, underscoring the need for a tailored approach adapted to country specificities and for a strong stewardship role of the Ministry of Finance.