Tax Systems and Tax Reforms in Europe

Tax Systems and Tax Reforms in Europe

Tax Systems and Tax Reforms in Europe

Tax Systems and Tax Reforms in Europe


The last decade has seen important changes taking place in the tax regimes of many European countries. A comprehensive picture of what is happening in European fiscal systems has not been easy to find--until now. This impressive book featuring contributions from leading scholars, will be of great interest not only to academics but also to those involved in the financial sectors across the world.


Vito Tanzi

In recent years, taxation has been a lively area of economic policy as many countries have proceeded to reform their tax systems to achieve either revenue or other objectives. This book is a contribution to the large literature on tax systems and tax reforms. Its main aim is to provide a comparative and economically oriented description of the tax systems of seven European countries. At the same time the book provides useful information on how these systems have changed in recent decades. The countries covered by this survey were chosen to include the four largest European countries, plus Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland, countries that for different reasons were deemed to warrant inclusion.

The authors of the chapters looking at each individual country were asked to cover similar aspects of taxation so as to make it possible for the reader to draw general conclusions. The chapters have been given a broadly similar structure that should make the book particularly useful to scholars interested in comparative tax analysis. The chapters cover a period of about three decades, starting in 1970. The chapters looking at individual countries are preceded by three general chapters that discuss issues which are not country-specific, plus a comparative survey of the country studies. These include: (a) a comparative view of recent changes and reforms in the selected European tax systems; (b) the opportunities for more radical reforms than those recently adopted or at present under way; (c) the political economy of tax reform; and (d) the relation between tax reform and fiscal consolidation in the European Union.

The present chapter provides a general introduction to the book. It does not summarize its content and does not focus on any single aspect. Rather, it presents a few general reflections that the reader may wish to keep in mind as he or she reads the book. It also provides a few observations on the tax reforms of recent years.

Tax reforms are rarely made in a vacuum. They normally reflect needs or concerns of a particular country, or react to particular domestic or external pressures. These needs or pressures are not likely to be the same . . .

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