Sunday, February 05, 2006

Visit to the IMF Tax Resources

Today I decided to visit Washington. No I was not planning to visit Bush but only the less controverisal International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF is an organization of 184 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty.

The IMF has a longstanding tradition of assistance in drafting new laws or amendments to existing laws in the area of fiscal law and policy. In the framework of its work the IMF published back in 1996 Tax Law Design and Drafting (Editor: Victor Thuronyi). This book, now available free of charge on the internet, considers the development of tax legislation from a comparative law perspective. The two volumes cover a wide range of topics. I have to confess that since I received a copy during the Leiden LL.M, I never left sight of the book. The two volumes cover several topics. I take the opportunity to select the chapters I personally enjoyed more.

Volume 1:
Ch. 2. Legal Framework for Taxation Frans Vanistendael
Ch. 6. Value-Added Tax David Williams
Ch. 12. Presumptive Taxation Victor Thuronyi
Volume 2:
Ch. 14 Individual Income Tax Lee Burns & Rick Krever
Ch. 16 Taxation of Income from Business and Investment Lee Burns & Rick Krever
Ch. 18 International Aspects of Income Tax Richard Vann
Ch. 20 Taxation of Corporate Reorganizations Frans Vanistendael
Ch. 21 Fiscal Transparency Alexander Easson & Victor Thuronyi
Ch. 22 Taxation of Investment Funds Eric Zolt

In order to supplement the information available in Tax Law Design and Drafting, the IMF has also made available a series of tax law notes, designed to provide information and analysis on comparative solutions to problems in tax law design which seem to be frequently on the minds of tax officials.
What Is Meant By The Concept Of "Agent" In Tax Legislation?
What Are The Options For Taxing Capital Gains Of Residents?How Might The Law Define A Dependent Of The Taxpayer?
How Should Income Of Local Employees Of Nonresident NGOs, Embassies, International Organizations And The Like Be Taxed?
How Should The Penalty For Late Filing Of A Tax Return Be Structured?
What Are The Options For Taxing Non-Governmental Organizations?
What Are The General Options For Withholding Taxes On Employment Income?
Should Taxpayers Be Able To Obtain Binding Advance Rulings?
Financial Leases - How Can They Be Treated For Tax Purposes?
Definition Of Residence For Individuals
Definition Of Permanent Establishment
How Should The Doubtful Debt Reserve Deduction Be Computed? What Basic Approaches Have Countries Taken To Taxing Partnership Income?
How Should Tax Be Withheld On Fringe Benefits?
How Should Fringe Benefits Be Valued? Which Miscellaneous Payments Should Be Subject To Income Tax Withholding?
How Should Deductible Expenses Of Permanent Establishments Be Determined?

Another interesting resource I also found during my visit was the Tax Code of the Republic of Taxastan and a hypothetical tax law called The Commonwealth of Symmetrica Income Tax Act. The first link guides you to a sample Code based on the IMF work in several countries of the former Soviet Union (including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan) which contains the provisions for all the taxes applicable in the hypothetical country of Taxastan.

In the maze of resources of the IMF I was in the end able to find interesting stuff, specially for the ones studying international tax. In addition, I should also mention the IMF working papers that occasionally deal with tax. See for example, Tax Policy for Developing Countries by Tanzi, Vito ; Zee, Howell H. (2001).

Next month I will visit another organization and try to map down the tax resources.


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