The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Developing countries with VATs typically exempt a large number of goods and services. Following a brief discussion of the rationale for exemptions, this paper presents a formula for the base of a VAT with exemptions. Two basic adjustments must be made to the base without exemptions: subtraction of the value of sales to consumers of exempt industries and addition of intermediate sales of taxable inputs to exempt industries. The paper concludes with a derivation of the elasticity of a VAT with exemptions with respect to aggregate consumption and a discussion of the implications of technological change for the VAT base.