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Tax policy analysis

Modest recovery in Asia-Pacific tax revenues as the after-effects of COVID-19 weigh on tourism

 

25/07/2023 – Tax-to-GDP ratios remained below pre-pandemic levels in a majority of economies in the Asia-Pacific region in 2021, according to a new OECD report released today.

 

Revenue Statistics in Asia and the Pacific 2023, which presents revenue data from 2021, the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, shows that tax-to-GDP ratios increased in 19 of the 27 economies in the Asia-Pacific region for which data is available. However, only in 11 of the 27 economies did the tax-to-GDP ratios recover fully to their pre-pandemic levels.

 

In economies where the tax-to-GDP ratio rose in 2021, tax revenues were boosted by a rebound in international trade, higher commodity prices (especially in Central Asia) and a gradual relaxation of travel restrictions in some economies. Where the tax-to-GDP ratio declined, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh on tax revenues, notably through its impact on tourism in the Pacific Islands.

 

The report shows that the recovery in Asia-Pacific's average tax-to-GDP ratio was weaker than in other regions in 2021. The Asia-Pacific average tax-to-GDP ratio rose by 0.2 percentage points (p.p.) to 19.8%, having fallen by 0.9 p.p. in 2020. The average tax-to-GDP ratio in the OECD rose by 0.6 p.p. to 34.1% in 2021, while the average for Latin America and the Caribbean rose by 0.8 p.p. to 21.7%.

 

Tax-to-GDP ratios across the Asia Pacific region ranged from 9.7% in Lao People's Democratic Republic to 36.6% in Nauru in 2021. Between 2020 and 2021, tax-to-GDP ratios increased by at least 1 p.p. in 7 economies, while in 5 economies they declined by more than 1 p.p. (Figure 1).

 

 

According to the new report, there were further declines in non-tax revenues across the Asia-Pacific region in 2021. Non-tax revenues fell in 11 of the 19 economies for which data are available in 2021, having fallen in 13 of these economies in 2020. In 2021, non-tax revenues ranged from 1.5% of GDP in Kazakhstan to 201.3% of GDP in Tokelau, which receives a high level of payments from foreign vessels for access to its fishing waters.

 

This tenth edition of Revenue Statistics in Asia and the Pacific provides harmonised data on tax revenues for 30 economies in the region, including Armenia and Georgia for the first time. The report is jointly produced by the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration and the OECD Development Centre with the co-operation of the Asian Development Bank, the Pacific Island Tax Administrators Association, and the Pacific Community, and with support from the governments of Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

 

To access the report, data, key findings, and country notes, visit https://oe.cd/revstatsap.

 

For further information, journalists are invited to contact Alexander Pick, Acting Head of the Tax Data and Statistical Analysis Unit, ([email protected]; Tel: +33 (0)1 45 24 87 27) or the Communications Office at the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.

 

 

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