The Use of Mirror Data by Customs Administrations: From Principles to Practice
(International Monetary Fund, 2023-09-26)
This note discusses the relevance of mirror data analysis for customs administrations and how these administrations can adjust this technique to their needs, particularly to support the customs risk management function. Based on IMF Fiscal Affairs Department’s capacity development experience in developing countries, it describes in detail the recommended steps to be followed to analyze the data, then advises on the operational utilization of obtained results.
Designing a Presumptive Income Tax Based on Turnover in Countries with Large Informal Sectors
(International Monetary Fund, 2023-12-22)
Turnover (sales) is frequently used in developing countries as a presumptive income tax base, to economize on the costs of tax administration and taxpayer compliance. We construct a simple model where a size threshold separates firms paying turnover tax from those paying profit tax (regular income tax), and where firms have the option of producing in the untaxed, informal sector. The optimal turnover tax rate trades off two policy concerns: reducing informality and avoiding strategic reductions in sales by firms seeking to remain below the threshold for the profit tax. We provide analytical results and calibrate the model to compute the optimal policy using realistic parameter values. The optimal turnover tax rate for countries with large informal sectors is found to be around 2.5% across most scenarios, while the threshold separating the turnover tax regime from profit tax lies for the most part between $65,000 and $95,000. Introducing an optimally designed turnover tax reduces the rate of informality of businesses by about 12 percentage points in the calibrated model.
Tax Evasion from Cross-Border Fraud
How can governments reduce the prevalence of cross-border tax fraud? This paper argues that the use of digital technologies offers an opportunity to reduce fraud and increase government revenue. Using data on intra-EU and world trade transactions, we present evidence that (i) cross-border trade tax fraud is non-trivial and prevalent in many countries; (ii) such fraud can be alleviated by the use of digital technologies at the border; and (iii) potential revenue gains of digitalization from reducing trade fraud could be substantial. Halving the distance to the digitalization frontier could raise revenues by over 1.5 percent of GDP in low-income developing countries.
(International Monetary Fund, 2022-07-15)
Customs administrations around the world face new challenges: an increasing volume of international trade, a revolution in new technologies, and fundamental changes in business models. The benefits of a well-performing customs administration are clear, as is the need to develop efficient, effective, fair, and modern customs administrations. Customs Matters analyzes the many changes and challenges customs administrations face and pro-poses ways to address them. By offering a cross-sectional view of the main aspects of customs ad-ministration, the book guides policymakers and customs officials as they evaluate the current state of their customs system with a view to developing, reinforcing, or relaunching their own roadmaps for customs modernization.