Some International Issues in Commodity Taxation

27 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2006

See all articles by Michael Keen

Michael Keen

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Fiscal Affairs Department; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Date Written: July 2002


This paper reviews issues and evidence concerning tax-motivated, cross-border commodity transactions. A distinction is drawn between arbitrage trades (driven by cross-country differences in tax rates) and tax not paid transactions (motivated by the opportunity to pay no tax at all on transactions with international aspects). Assessment of the severity of the associated policy problems faces the difficulty that the observed extent of cross-border transactions conveys no information on the induced inefficiency that the possibility of such transactions may generate. Given the difficulty of securing coordination of national tax policies, much of the emphasis in dealing with these problems in the coming years is likely to be on administrative cooperation.

Keywords: Commodity Taxation, Cross-border shopping

JEL Classification: H20, H73

Suggested Citation

Keen, Michael, Some International Issues in Commodity Taxation (July 2002). IMF Working Paper, Vol. , pp. 1-27, 2002. Available at SSRN:

Michael Keen (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Fiscal Affairs Department ( email )

700 19th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20431
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679


Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

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