Ruud A. de Mooij, Dinar Prihardini, and Mr. Emil Stavrev
Luxembourg receives ample investment from multinational corporations, in part due to some attractive features in its international tax rules. Around 95 percent of these foreign investments pass through Luxembourg via companies performing holding and/or intra-group financing activities. While their contribution to Luxembourg’s economy is modest relative to their large overall balance sheets, they still generate around 3 percent of GDP in tax revenue, create almost 4500 direct jobs, and spend almost 3 percent of GDP on salaries and purchases of business services. Ongoing changes in the international corporate tax framework pose risks to these economic contributions, which this paper attempts to quantify. It also discusses options for reforms in Luxembourg’s tax system that could help offset adverse revenue and economic effects.
This paper reviews the rapidly growing empirical literature on international tax avoidance by multinational corporations. It surveys evidence on main channels of corporate tax avoidance including transfer mispricing, international debt shifting, treaty shopping, tax deferral and corporate inversions. Moreover, it performs a meta analysis of the extensive literature that estimates the overall size of profit shifting. We find that the literature suggests that, on average, a 1 percentage-point lower corporate tax rate will expand before-tax income by 1 percent—an effect that is larger than reported as the consensus estimate in previous surveys and tends to be increasing over time. The literature on tax avoidance still has several unresolved puzzles and blind spots that require further research.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes insolvency and enforcement issues in Greece. The Greek insolvency and creditor rights framework has improved since the onset of the crisis as a result of successive reforms. Nonetheless, it remains underutilized, fragmented, and distortive, and is not supported by an adequate institutional setting. This is because many of the reforms undertaken in recent years were not part of a coordinated and comprehensive nonperforming loan resolution strategy, but were instead piecemeal and taken without proper stakeholder consultation and impact analysis. Also, the frequent and uncoordinated reforms have undermined legal predictability and certainty. This situation of distress, if left unaddressed, affects enterprises, households and financial and public creditors by preventing investment, credit, and consumption from recovering.
This report provides a summary of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures in place in Italy as at the date of the onsite visit. It analyzes the level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force recommendations and the level of effectiveness of Italy's AML/CFT system, and provides recommendations on how the system could be strengthened. Italy has a mature and sophisticated AML/CFT regime, with a correspondingly well-developed legal and institutional framework. Law enforcement agencies access, use, and develop good quality financial intelligence. Financial sector supervisors have been using a risk-based approach to varying degrees, but their supervisory tools could be improved.
Although the empirical literature has long struggled to identify the impact of taxes on corporate financial structure, a recent boom in studies offers ample support for the debt bias of taxation. Yet, studies differ considerably in effect size and reveal an equally large variety in methodologies and specifications. This paper sheds light on this variation and assesses the systematic impact on the size of the effects. We find that, typically, a one percentage point higher tax rate increases the debt-asset ratio by between 0.17 and 0.28. Responses are increasing over time, which suggests that debt bias distortions have become more important.
Like any tax, the VAT is vulnerable to evasion and fraud. But its credit and refund mechanism does offer unique opportunities for abuse, and this has recently become an urgent concern in the European Union (EU). This paper describes the main forms of noncompliance distinctive to a VAT, considers how they can be addressed, and assesses evidence on their extent in high-income countries. While the practical significance of current difficulties in the EU should not be over-stated, administrative measures alone may prove insufficient to deal with them, and a fundamental redesign of the VAT treatment of intra-community trade required. The current difficulties in the EU largely reflect circumstances that would not apply in the United States.
The papers published in this volume are based on an IMF seminar held in 2000 that covered a broad range of topics on monetary and financial law, such as the liberalization of capital movements, data dissemination, responsibilities of central banks, and the IMF’s goals in financial surveillance and architecture. Participants addressed recent issues in the financial sector, including those related to payment systems and supervision of financial institutions. Updates dealt with Internet banking, bank secrecy, and currency arrangements-including dollarization. Participants discussed the recent activities of the other international financial institutions, which included the European Central Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Prevention of financial crises was also discussed, with reference to the distinct roles of the IMF and the private sector.
This paper discusses the implications for tax systems of globalization of capital markets and of economies. It shows the extent to which particular taxes are affected by the globalization process. It speculates on future developments in this area and on tax competition.
Tax authorities in several countries have intensified their surveillance of intercompany transfer pricing in recent years. This paper examines the legislative and administrative issues related to the treatment of intercompany transfer pricing for tax purposes. It reviews the existing international guidelines and national rules on methods for determining appropriate transfer prices, as well as the issues related to tax administration practices for the implementation of those rules. Various systems, proposed or introduced to improve the predictability of taxation, are also examined. This paper further reviews the recent discussions on the “commensurate-with-income” standard and the pricing methodologies proposed thereunder. It finally reviews some alternative approaches to international income allocation which are proposed or adopted in lieu of the transfer pricing approach.
This paper examines the role of tax administration in developing countries from an economic perspective. The traditional separation of tax policy and tax administration in the literature is shown to break down in developing countries, where tax administrators decide in what manner complicated tax legislation should actually be applied. After surveying economic literature dealing with tax administration, the paper offers guidelines on how tax administrators can help implement more efficient and equitable tax systems.