The International Monetary Fund and Tax Reform
U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 75
30 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2004 Last revised: 8 Jan 2009
Date Written: 2004
Since the early 1980s, tax reform projects in developing countries have been significantly influenced by international institutions, most importantly the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This article examines the role of the IMF in tax reform. We analyse tax conditionality in IMF structural adjustment documentation made publicly available since 1997, including nearly 500 Letters of Intent and Policy Framework Papers. We survey the tax reform goals, conditions and benchmarks in these documents and review the example of structural adjustment documentation for Ghana. We also discuss the importance of IMF technical assistance in tax reform. The article takes a critical view of the IMF "mass produced" approach to tax reform. We highlight the lack of attention paid to domestic issues of equity and politics in many of these tax reform projects and place this critique in the context of the problematic international politics of tax conditionality.
Keywords: tax, International Monetary Fund, tax reform, developing countries, Ghana
JEL Classification: K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation