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Mr. Augusto A Perez Azcarraga, Mr. Tadatsugu Matsudaira, Mr. Gilles Montagnat-Rentier, Mr. Janos Nagy, and Mr. R. James Clark

Abstract

Customs administrations around the world face new challenges: an increasing volume of international trade, a revolution in new technologies, and fundamental changes in business models. The benefits of a well-performing customs administration are clear, as is the need to develop efficient, effective, fair, and modern customs administrations. Customs Matters analyzes the many changes and challenges customs administrations face and pro-poses ways to address them. By offering a cross-sectional view of the main aspects of customs ad-ministration, the book guides policymakers and customs officials as they evaluate the current state of their customs system with a view to developing, reinforcing, or relaunching their own roadmaps for customs modernization.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The new administration has committed to continue with the Fund-supported Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of SDR 4,615 million (661 percent of quota, about $6.5 billion) that was approved by the IMF Executive Board on September 30, 2020. The authorities’ objectives under the program are to ensure an environmental-friendly growth with high quality jobs, promote a transparent management of public resources, and ensure equity in the conduct of fiscally sustainable policies. Upon the completion of the Second and Third Reviews under the EFF, an additional SDR $568 million would be made available.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
The Debt Limits Policy (DLP) establishes the framework for using quantitative conditionality to address debt vulnerabilities in IMF-supported programs. In October 2020, the Executive Board approved reforms to the DLP which will enter into effect on June 30, 2021. The risk-based approach to setting debt conditionality informed by Debt Sustainability Analyses under the previous DLP approved in 2014 is maintained. The reforms aim to provide countries with more financing flexibility in practice while still adequately containing debt vulnerabilities through appropriate safeguards. This note provides operational and technical guidance related to the implementation of the DLP, including the operationalization of the approved reforms. In particular, it outlines the core principles underpinning the DLP, including when debt conditionality in IMF-supported programs is warranted and how to account for country-specific circumstances in the design of debt limits. The note also describes the process of setting and implementing debt conditionality, including: (i) identifying debt vulnerabilities to inform the focus of debt conditionality; (ii) designing debt conditionality; and (iii) implementing debt conditionality through the review cycle. The Guidance Note is intended for use by both IMF staff and country officials. In this regard, in addition to the guidance presented in the main body, the note also contains several annexes that cover definitional, technical, and operational issues arising in the determination and implementation of public debt limits.
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.
Mr. Ricardo Fenochietto
This paper analyses and compares two different groups of tools, the first to encourage the use of invoices (or payment systems) and the second to refund the VAT to low-income individuals. The analysis contributes to the existing literature by providing a clear characterization between these two groups of tools that are too often misunderstood and offers clear guidance to policymakers on the benefits and pitfalls of them based on available empirical studies and novel data analysis. Briefly, the first group includes a set of regressive and distortive tools (such as, allowing deducting the VAT paid on personal consumption from the PIT and reducing the VAT rate for using electronic means of payments or registration), while the second group includes tools that are less distortionary and improve income distribution (tax credits and VAT rate reduction targeted only at low-income individuals). This paper also finds that allowing the deduction of personal consumption against the PIT’s taxable base (i) did not impact positively the VAT revenue in Guatemala and (ii) worsens the income distribution in Ecuador.