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ITIC undertakes analysis and research on relevant tax topics to enhance peer learning and educate stakeholders on best practices.

 
 

Are global taxes feasible?

International Tax and Public Finance (2018)

Abstract: Over the years, many proposals for global taxes—taxes levied on a worldwide basis—have been made. None has been successful, essentially because one cannot have global taxes without a global government. This paper first reviews some major global taxes that have been proposed and then considers whether experience in two other spheres in which countries deal with each other to resolve fiscal questions—the financing of international organizations and international taxation (how national taxes deal with cross-border flows)—offers any lessons about the feasibility of a global tax. Since countries have little appetite for giving up fiscal sovereignty or for explicitly redistributive fiscal arrangements, most past global tax proposals had little or no prospect of success. But less ambitious attempts to develop a more ‘global’ approach to taxation through a transparent process that involves most who are affected, provides them some demonstrable benefit to all, and remains firmly under national control may perhaps over time move us a bit closer toward achieving the better world that global tax proponents presumably wish to achieve.


THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN REVENUE CONTROLS ON ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

Special Report: May 2017

World Customs Journal Edition (Volume 11, Number 2, September 2017)

Tax stamps are used by regulators in approximately fifty countries globally (see Annexe A for list of countries) in an attempt to protect alcohol tax revenues. This report assesses the effectiveness or otherwise of such systems and takes a closer look at the factors critical to determining the overall success of tax stamps and related technologies.

We show that, in isolation, tax stamps are a sub-optimal policy choice from both an efficacy and efficiency perspective. Instead, the goals of curbing illicit trade in alcohol and protecting tax revenues require a much wider package of effective monitoring, control and enforcement measures. High and discriminatory rates of tax should also be avoided as these incentivize illicit trade.


Comprehensive Tax Reform in the Philippines: Principles, History and Recommendations

Special Study: September 2016

The term “tax system” as used in this report refers to the collection of taxes that a government uses to raise revenue to support its expenditure programs. Tax systems are usually judged against the standard criteria of equity (or fairness), efficiency (or neutrality) and simplicity. Further, tax systems must raise sufficient revenue to meet the needs of government and be sufficiently flexible to deal with short-term economic fluctuations.

Globalization has put additional pressure on tax systems so that they are attractive to foreign investors. Tax systems should foster economic growth through efficient design that limits distortions and attracts foreign investment.


Capital Gains Issues in the Extractive Industries

Issues Paper: August 2016

This paper describes some of the issues for a country to consider in determining whether, and the extent to which, it should tax natural resource related capital gains. Before making this determination, each country should consider the tax policy it wishes to adopt with respect to capital gains for taxpayers across all industries, not just the extractive sector.


Review of the OECD's Working Paper on Tax Design for Exclusive Growth

ITIC Report: August 2016

On 20 July 2016 the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration issued a working paper entitled “Tax Design for Inclusive Economic Growth,” which examines the design features of tax systems and how they can be strengthened to support inclusive economic growth. The paper was discussed at the ministerial-level G20 Tax Symposium on 23 July, just before the meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on 23-24 July 2016.

This latest working paper follows an OECD report in 2008 entitled Tax and Economic Growth, which analyzed the impact of taxes on economic growth from an efficiency perspective. The current paper attempts a fresh assessment of the 2008 policy recommendations with a greater emphasis on equity considerations based on developments in academic literature and tax policy over the last several years.


The Impact of Selective Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverage Taxes

Issues Paper: June 2016

Use of targeted taxes on specific types of food and drink is on the rise around the world. Concerns over lifestyle-related Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and associated risk factors, coupled with increasing fiscal pressures, have led to growing government interest in the use of selective food and non-alcoholic beverages taxes (SFBTs). 

Whether such taxes are successful in meeting either of these outcomes depends on four main factors.

The first factor in determining the effectiveness of SFBTs is the extent to which such taxes are passed through to the prices that consumers pay. It is very difficult to predict the pass-through rate before a tax is introduced given the complexity of determinants that feed into it—including the structure of the tax, the portfolio of products it applies to, and the intensity of competition between firms in that sector. Most studies positing potential health benefits from SFBTs are based on simulations of changes in demand that would result from price changes. But such studies do not necessarily consider that, in some cases, consumers see little or no increase in prices as they are instead absorbed by producers or retailers.


Principles for Developing Country Hydrocarbon Investment Policies

January 2016

The International Tax and Investment Center, a nonprofit research and educational organization, has developed a set of principles for hydrocarbon investment policies that experts believe will assist in the dialogue between developing countries and prospective oil and gas exploration and development investors. The Principles for Developing Country Hydrocarbon Investment Policies are designed as a possible framework for collaboration between countries and investors to ensure countries obtain full value for their resources while attracting and sustaining the substantial investments and operational expertise needed for efficient, safe and environmentally sound resource development. Consistent with ITIC’s mission to bring parties together for dialogue on important fiscal, taxation, and investment policy issues, this set of oil and gas investment principles is an important starting point for countries and investors as they seek to work together in promoting economic development and attracting international investment.

These principles are a product of extensive dialogue among several leading international financial institutions and a number of oil and gas companies with vast international experience.  The principles were finalized and adopted by ITIC’s Oil and Gas Taxation and Regulatory Working Group, which will facilitate discussion of the principles with officials in various countries as we as multiple-stakeholder sessions.


ASEAN Excise Tax Reform: A Resource Manual

May 2015

"ASEAN Excise Tax Reform: A Resource Manual" represents the final phase of the most comprehensive analysis of excise taxation of the ASEAN region ever undertaken. The purpose of this publication is to act as a resource manual for policymakers and a roadmap to excise tax reform. In addition to this Resource Manual, experts have developed the “ASEAN Excise Working Tariff Schedule” which maps out the taxation of all excisable goods and services in the 10 member states, including links to all the relevant national excise tax legislation and a comprehensive “Discussion Paper.” 

The Resource Manual is a result of over two years of active engagement between Ministry of Finance policymakers and excise tax administrators from the member states and the Asia-Pacific Tax Forum expert team. As with most ASEAN undertakings, it was a collaborative effort. The end result provides policymakers with a roadmap to excise taxation in a more closely integrated region.

Standardization will become increasingly important as the region moves towards the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is due to commence on 31 December 2015. Harmonization and standardization of areas such as the definitions of both the key goods subject to excise and their tax bases will improve the intra-regional trade and investment of excisable goods around the region, as well as in many cases, improve compliance in the distribution and reduction of tax evasion.

This new Resource Manual fully respects national tax sovereignty. The authors focus on how to improve the existing tax regimes that are diverse in their approach and range of goods and services covered, to provide a path for reform, standardization, and the adoption of best practice excise tax systems. These reforms, if carried out correctly, can help foster economic growth and higher budget revenues in each of the ASEAN member states. This comprehensive Resource Manual will provide policymakers with the resources to develop and implement such policies in each of their countries.

Dr. Suthad Setboonsarng
Senior Advisor, International Tax and Investment Center and former ASEAN Deputy Secretary General

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Tax Administration Priorities in Emerging and Frontier Markets

Issues Paper: October 2014

The subject of global corporations not paying their “fair” share of taxes has been the subject of public discourse for more than three years, and international tax rules such as transfer pricing a subject for discussion in daily newspapers. There are widespread concerns that multinational enterprises (MNEs) are active participants in undermining the tax base of developed as well as developing countries, and the new Action Plan on BEPS can be seen as one outcome of this thinking. Concerted global action on addressing risks to tax bases from cross-border activity is at an unprecedented level, and the tax world is presently full of uncertainty. National action following publication of the full action plans for BEPS are very much an unknown, and this is most true of emerging and frontier markets.