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VAT attacks!

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  • Michael Keen

Abstract

Like the theory of the second best that the 2006 congress marks, the value added tax (VAT) is now fifty years old. Judged by the extent and speed of its spread around the world, and the revenue that it raises, the VAT would seem to have been a remarkable success. Over the last few years, however, it has come under a series of attacks. This paper considers three of the most prominent of these. One is the fear (raised mainly in the United States) that the VAT actually does too good a job of raising tax revenue—which raises the empirical question of whether it has indeed proved as effective a source of revenue as its proponents claim and its opponents fear. The second is the view that the VAT does a bad job of taxing the informal sector—and that tariffs might consequently be a better revenue-raising instrument for many developing countries. The third attack is the most literal, by criminals rather than theorists: in the European Union and elsewhere, sophisticated VAT fraud, targeting its refund provisions, has become a serious concern. The paper also argues, more generally, that the many unanswered questions concerning the VAT reflect an unfortunate disconnect between the development of the tax itself and of second best tax analysis. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Keen, 2007. "VAT attacks!," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(4), pages 365-381, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:14:y:2007:i:4:p:365-381
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-007-9037-9
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    Cited by:

    1. M. Govinda Rao & Sudhanshu Kumar, 2018. "Envisioning tax policy for accelerated development in India," Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 25(1), pages 85-107, June.
    2. European Commission, 2012. "Tax reforms in EU Member States - Tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability – 2012 Report," Taxation Papers 34, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    3. Moore, Mick, 2014. "Revenue Reform and Statebuilding in Anglophone Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 99-112.
    4. Dietl Helmut M & Jaag Christian & Lang Markus & Trinkner Urs W.O., 2011. "Competition and Welfare Effects of VAT Exemptions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-29, April.
    5. Richard M. Bird, 2008. "Tax Challenges Facing Developing Countries," Working Papers id:1618, eSocialSciences.
    6. de Quatrebarbes, Céline & Boccanfuso, Dorothée & Savard, Luc, 2016. "Beyond representative households: The macro–micro impact analysis of VAT designs applied to Niger," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 76-92.
    7. Jean-Louis COMBES & Gérard CHAMBAS & Joseph G. ATTILA, 2009. "Aide publique au développement et transition fiscale," Working Papers 200901, CERDI.
    8. Emanuele, Canegrati, 2007. "A Contribution to the Positive Theory of Direct Taxation," MPRA Paper 6117, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Céline de Quatrebarbes & Savard Luc & Boccanfuso Dorothée, 2011. "Can the suppression of VAT exemption support the poor? The case of Niger," EcoMod2011 3227, EcoMod.
    10. Mare, Mauro, 2015. "Why and How should the EU budget be reformed?," MPRA Paper 76112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Lourenço S. Paz, 2015. "The welfare impacts of a revenue-neutral switch from tariffs to VAT with intermediate inputs and a VAT threshold," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(4), pages 465-498, June.
    12. Antonio Gómez Gómez-Plana & Pedro Pascual Arzoz, 2011. "Fraude fiscal e IVA en España: incidencia en un modelo de equilibrio general," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 199(4), pages 9-52, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Value added tax; Indirect taxation; Tax reform; H21; H26;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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