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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
After a deeper pandemic-induced recession than the rest of the euro area in 2020, the Portuguese economy gained ground in 2021, and growth strengthened further in 2022:Q1. Employment reached pre-pandemic levels in 2021:H2 and GDP in 2022:Q1. Nonetheless output is expected to remain below pre-pandemic trend over the medium term. While growth in 2022:Q1 was supported by a strong bounce back in tourism and domestic demand, the recovery for the rest of the year is expected to be hampered by the war in Ukraine despite limited direct linkages with Russia and Ukraine, due to higher commodity prices, supply-side disruptions, and weaker confidence and external demand. The outlook is clouded by uncertainty relating to the war, new virus waves, and the ultimate effect of the pandemic on corporate, bank, and public sector balance sheets. While declining and with improved composition, public debt would remain high.
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.