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Reforming Tax Systems


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  • Vahram Stepanyan
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    Starting in the early 1990s, the Baltics, Russia, and other (BRO) countries of the former Soviet Union initiated tax reforms that varied widely at the later stages. Recently, some of the BRO countries, basing decisions on the proposition that lowering of the top marginal income tax rate would significantly benefit economic development and increase tax compliance, have initiated a new stage of tax reforms. This paper reviews country experiences and suggests that (i) overall, there seems to be little evidence of a substantial improvement in income tax revenues resulting simply from a reduction in the top marginal tax rates, and (ii) in the BRO countries, the elasticity of the behavior of economic agents, in terms of labor supply, saving, and investment, with respect to income tax rates is not large, and a reduction of the existing income tax rates is unlikely to lead to a notable expansion of economic activity.

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 03/173.

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    Length: 31
    Date of creation: 01 Sep 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:03/173

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    Keywords: Tax reforms; Tax systems; Value added tax; tax administration; tax reform; tax system; taxation; tax revenues; tax policy; tax rates; tax evasion; tax base; personal income tax; tax structures; income tax rates; tax revenue; tax compliance; tax mix; tax policy reform; tax incentives; tax exemptions; tax authorities; income taxes; tax administrations; indirect taxes; direct taxes; income tax revenues; good tax system; tax reduction; tax structure; tax increases; tax burden; fiscal affairs department; tax legislation; fiscal affairs; vat rate; tax efficiency; tax reform programs; tax policy reforms; marginal tax rates; fiscal crisis; tax rate reductions; substitution effect; increase in tax revenues; tax reform efforts; tax reductions; flat tax; progressive tax; tax changes; tax liabilities; tax avoidance; fiscal regime; tax brackets with rates; tax rate reduction; marginal tax rate; effective tax rates; government tax revenue; tax change; severe fiscal imbalances; income effect; consumption tax; tax credit; tax research; fiscal policy; tax bases; corporate income tax; fiscal imbalances; amount of tax; higher tax revenues; capital tax; personal income tax revenues; excise taxes; sales taxes; presumptive taxes; personal income taxes; vat system; fiscal arrangements; trade taxes; central government budget; fiscal stability; tax enforcement; high tax rates; government budget; taxation policy; foreign capital; fiscal situation; effects of taxation; higher income; rate of income tax; taxpayer compliance; consumption taxes; taxpayer education; public expenditure; tax officials; indirect tax; tax administration reforms; capital income taxation; expenditure cuts; tax revenue increases; personal income tax rate; input tax credit; direct taxation; direct tax; optimal tax; fiscal sustainability; reduction in tax; fiscal operations; fiscal transparency; taxes on income; tax compliance costs; reforming tax systems; tax withholding; lower tax rates;


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    1. Tanzi, Vito & Zee, Howell H., 2000. "Tax Policy for Emerging Markets: Developing Countries," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 2), pages 299-322, June.
    2. Willi Leibfritz & John Thornton & Alexandra Bibbee, 1997. "Taxation and Economic Performance," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 176, OECD Publishing.
    3. Howell H. Zee & Vito Tanzi, 2000. "Tax Policy for Emerging Markets," IMF Working Papers 00/35, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:
    1. Nikolay Galabov, 2013. "Budget revenues of Bulgaria and of the European Union (2000-2011) (Bulgarian)," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 2, pages 3-26.
    2. Morawski, Leszek & Myck, Michal, 2010. "'Klin'-ing up: Effects of Polish tax reforms on those in and on those out," Labour Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 556-566, June.
    3. Borys, Paweł & Ciżkowicz, Piotr & Rzońca, Andrzej, 2011. "Panel data evidence on non-Keynesian efects of fiscal policy in the EU New Member," MPRA Paper 32696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Marek Gora & Grzegorz Kula & Oleksandr Rohozynsky & Magdalena Rokicka & Anna Ruzik, 2009. "Social Security, Labour Market and Restructuring: Current Situation and Expected Outcomes of Reforms," CASE Network Reports 0090, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Ricardo Varsano & Kevin Kim & Michael Keen, 2006. "The "Flat Tax(es)"," IMF Working Papers 06/218, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Nikolay Galabov, 2013. "Budget revenues of Bulgaria and of the European Union (2000-2011) (English)," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 2, pages 27-49.
    7. John E. Anderson, 2005. "Fiscal Reform and its Firm-Level Effects in Eastern Europe and Central Asia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp800, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    8. Vita Jagric & Sebastjan Strasek & Timotej Jagric & Tanja Markovic-Hribernik, 2009. "Personal Income Tax Reforms as a Competitive Advantage," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1, pages 189-218, May.
    9. Terry McKinley, 2006. "Gearing Public Finance to Growth, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Moldova," Country Study, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth 3, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.


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