The purpose of this note is to provide a framework for improving tax policy design in fragile and conflict-affected states, which face political and institutional constraints. This note begins with an overview of experiences in revenue mobilization in fragile states, including relative to other country groups—in particular, nonfragile states and formerly fragile states; that is, countries that exited fragility during the period under study. A discussion follows of how the principles of tax policy design should be applied in fragile states, particularly the relative importance of the revenue objective vis-à-vis other objectives, such as equity and efficiency. The two sections that follow provide guidance on tax policy design in the emergency and consolidation phases, respectively, and discuss how governments can use tax policy to transition from one phase to another, eventually overcoming fragility. The note concludes with key lessons and a set of guiding principles for tax reform in fragile states.
This note aims to inform governments on how to account for tax expenditures and use that information in fiscal management. The emphasis is on developing and emerging market economies, where the use of such accounts is in its infancy because of data constraints, insufficient human and financial resources, and weak fiscal institutions. Most developing economies, more-over, do not have tax policy units in their Ministry of Finance to provide analytical support to the govern¬ment and legislature that integrates all revenue policy aspects. As a result, the tax policy framework can be fragmented: line ministries compete in the provision of sectoral tax incentives, but do not report on their cost. The note is organized as follows. The second section outlines the role that tax expenditure measurement and reporting can play in fiscal management. The third section provides a step-by-step approach on how tax expenditure accounts can be built, with emphasis on data, methods and models, and institutional requirements. The section is concerned primarily with the direct cost of tax expenditures—that is, the revenue forgone because of them. It does not deal with their indirect costs, which could include economic efficiency losses and additional tax administration resources, and it does not address assessment of the benefits of tax expenditures. The fourth summarizes the current sta¬tus of tax expenditure reporting in developing econo¬mies, with some reference to advanced economies. The last section concludes.