ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fiscal Restructuring in Context of Trade Reform

The Twelfth Finance Commission is explicitly charged in its terms of reference with raising tax/GDP from present levels. The theoretical literature suggests that revenue compensation for lost trade revenues be sourced from domestic indirect taxes, and recommends a price-neutral destination-based VAT as the optimal instrument. In a federal setting, this will reduce relative tax collections at national level, where trade tariffs are levied, in favour of the subnational level, with which rights to levy domestic indirect taxes are typically shared. Possible resistance to such a restructuring, and the level from which it could originate will be a function of the history of collection shares in the federation; of the relative shares of discretionary and formulaic transfers from national to subnational level; and of the relative importance of redistributive criteria in formulaic transfers.

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