OECD – After the lockdown, a tightrope walk toward recovery

OECD – After the lockdown, a tightrope walk toward recovery. The spread of Covid-19 has shaken people’s lives around the globe in an extraordinary way, threatening health, disrupting economic activity, and hurting wellbeing and jobs.Since our last Economic Outlook update, in early March, multiple virus outbreaks evolved into a global pandemic, moving too fast across the globe for most healthcare systems to cope witheffectively.To reduce the spread of the virus and buy time to strengthen healthcare systems, governments had to shut down large segments of economic activity.At the time of writing, the pandemic has started to recede in many countries, and activity has begun to pick up. The health, social and economic impact of the outbreak could have been considerably worsewithout the dedication of healthcare and other essential workers who continued to servethe public, putting their own health at riskin doing so.Governments and central banks have put in place wide-ranging policies to protect people and businesses from the consequences of the sudden stop in activity.Economic activity has collapsedacross the OECD during shutdowns, by as much as 20 to 30%in some countries, an extraordinary shock. Borders have been closed and trade has plummeted. Simultaneously, governments implementedquick, large and innovative support measuresto cushion the blow, subsidising workersand firms. Social and financial safety nets were strengthened at record speed. As financial stress surged, central banks took forceful and timely action, deploying an array of conventional and unconventional policies above and beyond those used in the Global Financial Crisis, preventing the health and economic crisis from spilling over into a financial one. As long as no vaccine or treatment is widely available, policymakers around the world will continue to walk on a tightrope. Physical distancing and testing, tracking, tracing and isolating (TTTI) will be the main instruments to fight the spread of the virus. TTTI is indispensable for economic and social activities to resume. But thosesectors affected by border closures and those requiring close personal contact, such as tourism, travel, entertainment, restaurants and accommodation will not resume as before. TTTI may not even be enough to prevent a second outbreak of the virus.

OECD – Youth and COVID-19: Response, Recovery and Resilience

OECD – Youth and COVID-19: Response, Recovery and Resilience – The COVID-19 global health emergency and its economic and social impacts have disrupted nearly all aspects of life for all groups in society. People of different ages, however, are experiencing its effects in different ways.For young people, and especially for vulnerable youth, the COVID-19 crisis poses considerable risks in the fields of education, employment, mental health and disposable income. Moreover, while youth and future generations will shoulder much of the long-term economic and social consequences of the crisis, their well-being may be superseded by short-term economic and equity considerations. To avoid exacerbating intergenerational inequalities and to involve young people in building societal resilience, governmentsneed to anticipate the impact of mitigation and recovery measures across different age groups, by applying effective governance mechanisms.Based on survey findings from 90 youth organisations from 48 countries, this policy brief outlines practical measures governments can take to design inclusive and fair recovery measures that leave no one behind. 11June2020.

IAT/IOTA/OECD – Tax Administration Responses to COVID-19: Recovery Period Planning. Version 26 May 2020

CIAT/IOTA/OECD – Tax Administration Responses to COVID-19: Recovery Period Planning. Version 26 May 2020. 1.  Recovery from the profound impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s lives, jobs, businesses and the wider economy is likely to be lengthy, challenging and multifaceted. Tax administrations, which have played a critical role in the crisis period, will also be central to supporting therecovery. Even during the immediate crisis period there is likely to be significant benefit from early business restoration planning to help identify the main challenges and opportunities for both tax administrations and taxpayers and, where possible, to take early preparatory actions. 2. In undertaking business restoration planning, it will be important to take into account the distinguishing features of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other crises that are likely to persist during the recovery period. In particular, the continued risks to health, including from further outbreaks; the impacts on staff and administration systems as a result of the need for continuing adjustments; and the potential length and volatility of the recovery period given the depth and scale of the economic shock.3. Against this background, objectives of tax administrations in planning for the recovery period might include: (…)

OECD – In Tax, Gender Blind is not Gender Neutral: why tax policy responses to COVID-19 must consider women

OECD – In Tax, Gender Blind is not Gender Neutral: why tax policy responses to COVID-19 must consider women. Women are at the core of the fight against the COVID-19 crisis: they make up the vast majority of healthcare workers and shoulder much of the childcare and home schooling burden during lockdowns. And while tax policy measures play a crucial role in supporting individuals and businesses as we navigate this crisis, the gender impact of taxation is often overlooked – with serious consequences for gender equality. Gender equality is a fundamental human right, as laid out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #5, and failing to achieve it costs us up to 16% of world income every year. Yet, in the context of government revenue collection, gender balance is often neglected as a policy rationale. Could it be that there simply is no need to assess the interaction of tax and gender, or have gender imbalances in tax systems so far been overlooked? And what does this mean for policy-makers in the face of Covid-19? (…) By Michelle Harding, Grace Perez-Navarro, and Hannah Simon, OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA). June 1, 2020.

OECD – Tax Administration: Privacy, Disclosure and Fraud Risks Related to COVID-19. Version 26 May 2020

OECD – Tax Administration: Privacy, Disclosure and Fraud Risks Related to COVID-19.Version 26 May 2020. Tax administrations around the globe are taking a series of extraordinary measures to support taxpayers and the wider economy, including through helping to deliver wider government support, while also taking a range of actions to ensure continuity of critical operations and the safety of staff and customers. The speed with which those measures are implemented and the adjustments to some tax administration processes and ways of working can lead, however, to a significant increase of the risks of lapses or deviations from disclosure and privacy requirements as well as the risks of fraud. This document captures some of those high-level risks as well as possible mitigation strategies with a particular focus on remote working issues. It has been produced by the OECD Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) Secretariat in collaboration with the FTA Enterprise Risk Management Community of Interest. It also takes account of input provided by tax administrations, including through virtual meetings, surveys and bilateral discussions. This document does not make recommendations as regards particular measures since national circumstances and considerations will vary greatly. 1. During the current period, the risks of lapses or deviations from disclosure and privacy requirements as well as the risks of fraud have increased markedly. This is due to the large increase in remote working, the fast-moving and potentially confusing nature of changes in processes, increased security risks and greater opportunities for errors, misconduct and fraud. 2. This document captures some high-level risks, mitigations, and exposures / vulnerabilities identified by tax administrations that participate in the OECD Forum on Tax Administration’s Community of Interest on Enterprise Risk Management. The items included are intended to be input for consideration and discussion and are not intended to be comprehensive.

OECD Secretariat Analysis of Tax Treaties and the Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis

1.The COVID-19 pandemic has forced governments to take unprecedented measures such as restricting travel and implementing strict quarantine requirements. In this difficult context, most countries are putting stimulus packages in place, including measures to support employment, for example,taking on the burden of unpaid salaries on behalf of companies suffering from theeconomic effects ofCOVID-19 pandemic. As a result of these restrictions, many cross-border workers are unable to physically perform their duties in their country of employment. They may have to stay at home and telework, or may be laid off because of the exceptional economic circumstances. 2.This unprecedented situation is raising many tax issues, especially where there are cross-border elements in the equation; for example, cross-border workers, or individuals who are stranded in a country that is not their country of residence. These issues have an impact on the right to tax between countries, which is currently governed by international tax treaty rules that delineate taxing rights.3.At the request of concerned countries, the OECD Secretariat has issued this guidance on these issuesbased on a careful analysis of the international tax treaty rules.  Version 3 April 2020.

OECD – Tax Administration Responses to COVID-19: Recovery Period Planning

Tax administrations around the globe are taking a series of extraordinary measures to support taxpayers and the wider economy, including through helping to deliver wider government support, while also taking a range of actions to ensure continuity of critical operations and the safety of staff and customers. In order to help inform tax administrations’ decision-making in these areas, the OECD Forum on Tax Administration (FTA), in co-operation with the Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT) and the Intra-European Organisation of Tax Administrations (IOTA), has produced two COVID-19 reference documents, one on measures to support taxpayers and one on business continuity considerations1. This third COVID-19 reference document looks at some of the main issues that tax administrations may wish to consider in their planning for the recovery period from the pandemic. This may be a lengthy period given the depth and scale of the economic shock and the likely continuing need for some containment measures.This document has been produced by the FTA Secretariat in collaboration with the Enterprise Risk Management Community of Interest and with the co-operation of CIAT and IOTA. It takes account of input provided by tax administrations, including through virtual meetings, surveys and bilateral discussions. This document does not make recommendations as regards particular measures since national circumstances and considerations will vary greatly. Introduction. 1. Recovery from the profound impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s lives, jobs, businesses and the wider economy is likely to be lengthy, challenging and multifaceted. Tax administrations, which have played a critical role in the crisis period, will also be central to supporting therecovery. Even during the immediate crisis period there is likely to be significant benefit from early business restoration planning to help identify the main challenges and opportunities for both tax administrations and taxpayers and, where possible, to take early preparatory actions. 2. In undertaking business restoration planning, it will be important to take into account the distinguishing features of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other crises that are likely to persist during the recovery period. In particular, the continued risks to health, including from further outbreaks; the impacts on staff and administration systems as a result of the need for continuing adjustments; and the potential length and volatility of the recovery period given the depth and scale of the economic shock.

OECD Taxation Working Papers N. 47 – What drives consumption tax revenues? Disentangling policy and macroeconomic drivers

OECD Taxation Working Papers N. 47 – What drives consumption tax revenues? Disentangling policy and macroeconomic drivers. This paper decomposes consumption tax revenues in OECD countries into the implicit tax rate (ITR) and consumption relative to GDP, to identify how economic downturns affect consumption tax revenues. It further considers the impact of changes in VAT efficiency and VAT rates on ITRs. The analysis finds that the observed stability in consumption tax revenues results from offsetting changes in the ITRs and in consumption as a share of GDP, arising from both macroeconomic changes and intentional policy changes. During the economic crisis in 2007-2009, lasting changes in consumption patterns, notably increases in government spending and in private consumption of necessity goods, adversely affected the efficiency of VAT systems. These changes have not since been reversed, suggesting that consumption tax revenues are now less robust to economic shocks. Broadening the VAT base and narrowing the scope of reduced rates can help to stabilise consumption tax revenues during economic downturns. 1. During the economic crisis from 2007 to 2009, tax revenues from all sources fell considerably, with most countries experiencing the lowest point in their tax revenues as a share of GDP for several decades. Among these taxes, revenues from taxes on consumption were typically less affected than revenues from other bases such as corporate income. Over time, taxes on consumption have been seen to be less volatile and more stable than most other forms of taxation (OECD, 2018). This paper examines the reasons for this, disentangling consumption tax revenues to understand the impact of changes in the consumption tax base and the tax system applied to that base. 2. In addition, taxes on consumption represent a large share of both total tax revenues and GDP in OECD countries. Over the last 40 years, revenues from taxes on consumption have been relatively stable, on average, around 11% of GDP and around one-third (32.7%) of total tax revenues. However, during the same period, the mix of consumption taxes has changed markedly due to the growing share of value-added taxes (VAT), which have displaced other forms of consumption taxes in most OECD countries (OECD, 2018). 3. With all OECD countries strongly relying on consumption tax revenues, understanding what drives changes in revenues from consumption taxes is crucial for both policy makers and researchers. The aim of this paper is twofold: first, to identify through which channels consumption tax revenues are affected during an economic downturn, using the most recent economic crisis (2007-2009) as a case study; and second, to understand what drives fluctuations in the overall tax burden on consumption, using the implicit tax rate on consumption as the starting point. 4. The structure of this paper is as follows. Section 2 describes developments in consumption tax revenues across OECD countries. Section 3 reviews the existing literature on analysing changes in consumption tax revenues, before section 4 sets out the methodology used to address the two questions outlined above. In section 5, the presented decomposition is used to analyse the drivers of changes in consumption tax revenues in OECD countries, before Section 6 discusses the results of this analysis as well as avenues for future work.

OECD – Latin America and the Caribbean: Tax revenue gains under threat amid deteriorating regional outlook

Tax revenues in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) increased to 23.1% of GDP on average in 2018, according to the new edition of Revenue Statistics in Latin America in the Caribbean published today. However, these gains are now under threat as a result of the region’s deteriorating fiscal outlook, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic crisis.

New OECD data provides a baseline for measuring the impact of COVID-19 on labour taxes

Taxing Wages 2020 shows that the “tax wedge” – total taxes on labour costs paid by employees and employers, minus family benefits, as a percentage of the labour cost to the employer – was 36.0% in 2019. This OECD-wide average rate, calculated for a single person with no children earning the average wage,  represents a fall of 0.11 percentage points from 2018.