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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.
International Monetary Fund
The Tenth Periodic Monitoring Report (PMR) on the Status of Management Implementation Plans (MIPs) in Response to Board-Endorsed Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) Recommendations assesses the progress made over the last year on actions contained in 10 MIPs with open management actions.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Cyprus discusses that following a period of very rapid growth in the aftermath of the economic crisis, growth is gradually settling in at a more sustainable but still relatively robust pace despite the external slowdown. Output is projected to rise by around 3 percent in 2019–20, supported by construction and services sectors. Good progress has been made in addressing domestic and external stability risks arising from legacies of the financial crisis. Sales of nonperforming loans (NPLs), amendments to the foreclosure and insolvency framework and resolution of a large systemic bank have helped strengthen bank balance sheets. Reversal of reforms to the foreclosure framework would hinder ongoing NPL resolution efforts and create risks for financial stability. Realization of contingent liabilities from the still weak banking sector or increased fiscal spending pressures could undermine investor confidence, raising interest costs and depressing growth. Cyprus needs to build on recent gains by advancing reforms to secure macroeconomic stability, enhance efficiency and strengthen productivity and growth potential.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
The 2018 Review of Program Design and Conditionality is the first comprehensive stocktaking of Fund lending operations since the global financial crisis. The review assesses program performance between September 2011 and end-2017. Programs during this period were defined by the protracted structural challenges faced by members and hampered by the persistently weak global environment.
Feng Wei and Jean-François Wen
Presumptive income taxes in the form of a tax on turnover for SMEs are pervasive as a way to reduce the costs of compliance and administration. We analyze a model where entrepreneurs allocate labor to the formal and informal sectors. Formal sector income is subjected either to a corporate income tax or a tax on turnover, depending on whether their turnover exceeds a threshold. We characterize the private sector equilibrium for any given configuration of tax policy parameters (corporate income tax rate, turnover tax rate, and threshold). Given private behavior, social welfare is optimized. We interpret the first-order conditions for welfare maximization to identify the key margins and then simulate a calibrated version of the model.
Mr. David Amaglobeli, Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Pooja Karnane, and Florian Misch
This paper describes a new, comprehensive database of tax policy measures in 23 advanced and emerging market economies over the last four decades. We extract this information from more than 900 OECD Economic Surveys and 37,000 tax-related news from the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation using text-mining techniques. The innovation of this dataset lies in its granularity: changes in the rates and bases of personal and corporate income taxes, value added and sale taxes, social security contributions, excise, and property taxes are systematically documented. In addition, the database provides information on the announcement and implementation dates, whether the measures represent major changes, are part of a broader tax package, and phased in over several years. The paper also presents a range of stylized facts suggesting that information from this database is useful to deepen the analysis of tax policy changes for research and policy purposes.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This paper discusses that the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) has also launched three new evaluations—which will analyze the IMF’s role on fragile states, its financial surveillance activities, and its advice on unconventional monetary policies—and two evaluation updates—which will look into the IMF’s exchange rate policy advice and structural conditionality. The evaluation found that, for the most part, the IMF’s euro area surveillance identified the right issues during the pre-crisis period but did not foresee the magnitude of the risks that would later become paramount. The IMF’s surveillance of the financial regulatory architecture was generally of high quality, but staff, along with most other experts, missed the buildup of banking system risks in some countries. The report found several issues with the way decision making was managed by the IMF. In May 2010, the IMF Executive Board approved a decision to provide exceptional access financing to Greece without seeking preemptive debt restructuring, even though its sovereign debt was not deemed sustainable with a high probability.

International Monetary Fund
This report describes recent follow-up on past Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) evaluations, summarizes the update of the 2006 evaluation of multilateral surveillance, and outlines the ongoing evaluations. It raises the concern that progress in implementing Board-endorsed IEO recommendations has been quite mixed, suggesting the need for further consideration to reinforcing the follow-up process.