Tax Reform: Lessons Learned
In recent years there have been over twenty tax reforms that have taken a very different approach to the design of tax systems than those done one or two decades ago. This paper attempts to outline the changes that have taken place in the approach and policies of tax reform. A comparison is made between the previous tax reform efforts and the successful tax reforms that have taken place in the 1980s. Through time it has become obvious that highly progressive statutory income tax rate structures have contributed very little to bringing about a more equitable distribution of income. As a consequence, recent tax reforms have aimed at creating simpler systems with lower rates and broader tax bases. There is some evidence that the indirect tax system has assumed an increased role in the revenue systems of many countries. The value-added tax has spread rapidly since 1980, often with only one or two rates of tax action. In the case of LCDs, in spite of the availability of the microcomputer as an administrative tool, the efforts to create more efficient revenue systems are still greatly constrained by the inability to implement administrative reforms.
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