Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

IREF Europe - Institute for Research in Economic and Fiscal issues

Fiscal competition
and economic freedom



SerbiaFrom the perspective of fiscal adjustment, year 2012 was lost. In an attempt to collect more revenues, government increased general VAT rate, excises on tobacco, personal income from capital gains…. Government has also prepared the draft of the Law on Corporate income tax proposing an increase (...)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and HerzegovinaFiscal adjustment continued during 2012 despite the fact that real GDP fell by 0.7%. The rates of major taxes remained unchanged. Fiscal cooperation between different levels of governments substantially improved during 2012, resulting in an early December 2012 adoption of the state (...)


BulgariaGeneral assessment
2012 was rather good fiscal year for Bulgaria – while the economy is still underperforming, tax revenues almost fully recovered to their pre-crisis (2008) record high levels and the budget position was close to balanced, with deficit being far less than 1% for 2012. There (...)

Czech Republic

Czech RepublicFrom the accounting viewpoint, the Czech government is relatively efficient in taming deficits. The chosen strategy for the whole period 2010–2014 is to raise approximately one extra Czech koruna in taxes for every two korunas saved from previously planned expenditures. On the other hand, the (...)


DenmarkGeneral assessment
Winning the September 2011-election on a promise of higher taxes, the centreleft government made good on election promises in the 2012-budget by increasing taxes by half a percent of total tax revenue. In the spring of 2012 further tax increases followed on cars and energy (...)


EstoniaWhile Estonia has rebounded well from the crisis and is still an attractive destination for Nordic companies there needs to be a political thrive towards keeping Estonia’s competitive advantage. In the time were our close neighbours are discussing possibilities for making their economic (...)


FinlandIn the spring of 2013, the Finnish government held its half-way assessment, in which it reviewed and revised the government policy program for the remaining two years of its mandate, until the next general election in 2015. The main focus was again on the taxation of dividends. However, the (...)


FranceFrance fiscal and budget policy: The only thing really new in 2012 was the President
2012 has been an election year: President Sarkozy left office last May and President Hollande took over. As explained in our previous report, from a fiscal and budgetary standpoint, the programs of the two (...)


GermanyThe big picture
German fiscal policy is at present conducted under very favorable conditions. Capital flight into Germany during the Euro crisis has led to historically low interest rates on newly issued German public debt. Despite a not very low debt-to- GDP ratio of more than 80%, the (...)


GreeceThe Greek governments had followed expansionary fiscal policies for many years. The government spending remained at high levels, chronic budget deficits continued, tax collection weakened, and public debt exceeded the size of the economy. The global economic crisis that started to take hold in (...)

Struggling with or against the welfare state?

Struggling with or against the welfare state?What comes out from the reading of the contributions to this new edition of the Yearbook on taxation in Europe is, as usual, that European countries vary greatly in their fiscal and budgetary policies. Some states are nearing bankruptcy while others can display rather healthy financial (...)


ItalyThere seems to be no respite to Italy economic and political torments. The year 2012 witnessed a deepening of the downturn of the economy. The Italian GDP declined by a huge 2.4%, brought mainly by a deep fall in the domestic demand. Increased taxes dented heavily household’s incomes, while (...)


Ireland2012 saw the stabilisaon of the economic situaon in the Republic of Ireland. Irish GDP retuned to growth with real GDP rising by 0.9 percent and real GNP rising by an unexpected 3.9 percent. The Budget for 2013 comes in the aftermath of three years participation in a bailout and stability (...)


LuxembourgUnjusti?ed outside pressures A line must be drawn between, on one hand, what has happened and continues to happen in the country itself due to its own will and the decisions of its government and parliament and, on the other hand, what will shortly happen in the country because of decisions (...)


NorwayThe main objectives for the Norwegian Government’s tax and ?scal policies are, according to the Ministry of Finance, “… to secure public revenue, to help bring about a fair distribution of wealth, promote employment throughout the country and to improve the ef?ciency of the economy”.
The (...)


PolandIn November 2011, for the ?rst time in the post-socialist era in Poland, the incumbent government was re-elected for the second turn in the of?ce. The coalition of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) and Polish People’s Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe) maintained suf?cient electoral (...)


PortugalIn any undergraduate course the value of legal certainty is taught. Fiscal policy, of all policies, should be following the principle more strictly, as it is one of the basic elements for any investment decision – and investment is the basis for economic growth and job creation. But that has not (...)


RomaniaPolitical instability and its corresponding ?scal uncertainty characterized the 2012 election year (local in June, legislative in December). A cabinet resigned, another was dismissed by the Parliament after few months, a new cabinet took over and was replaced after the legislative elections, (...)

United Kingdom

United KingdomThe government is embarking upon a programme of fiscal consolidation, though delivering the reduction in the government’s deficit has not been as successful as it hoped. The fiscal consolidation was largely achieved through tax increases in the early years. Government spending remains very high (...)


SwitzerlandInternally, corporate taxes have been lowered further in several cantons. Much uncertainty surrounds the planned corporate tax reform to increase acceptance of the Swiss tax system towards the European Union, which has been criticizing some cantonal corporate tax rules for years and is (...)


SwedenSweden has a center right government since 2006. This government has reduced the total taxes as percentage of GDP from 48,8 in 2006 to 44,0 in 2012. Only Denmark has higher total taxes. In 2013 the corporate income tax was reduced to 22 percent. Including taxes on income paid by employers, (...)


SlovakiaFiscal consolidation should have been the priority of the government in 2012, but due to early elections in spring, most of the measures were deferred to year 2013. As a result, public de?cit of 4.6% of GDP did not change compared to previous year. New leftist government applied some moderate (...)


SloveniaFor many years since the break-up of Yugoslavia in early 90’s, Slovenia represented a success story which was not frequent among transitional countries. The world’s ?nancial crisis came to Slovenia in 2008 and caught the country totally unprepared. The value of most shares decreased sharply thus (...)


SpainThe economic crisis in Spain highlighted the lack of response from the Government as well as the wasteful public spending, both mirrored in the huge public de?cits and the resultant sovereign debt crisis. The Socialist Party called early general elections for November 2011 due to lack of (...)


NetherlandsThe big picture
Dutch fiscal policy has recently been designed predominantly to speed up fiscal consolidation and to reduce public deficits. This takes place amidst a recession in 2012, where Dutch GDP shrank by 1.3%, after slightly positive yet very low growth in 2011. The fiscal deficit is (...)


HungarySystemic chaos
Looking at the main tax types, there was no change in the corporate profit tax in 2012, the rate of the personal income tax remained 16% but the tax temporarily became progressive due to changes in the calculation of the tax base while the standard VAT rate increased from 25% to (...)


LithuaniaLithuania is often viewed as a success story of austerity measures. Although the country did reduce public spending, it also suffered from high budget deficits which translated into a sharp public debt growth.


BelgiumAn almost continuous wave of laws implementing an important number of “miscellaneous measures”, or “containing tax and financial matters” has struck Belgium in 2012.The present climate of crisis has led Belgian authorities to seek new sources of financing or to enforce, sometimes at any cost, thus (...)


AustriaAustria today faces a double challenge: to consolidate the country’s fiscal position through effective fiscal and structural policies aimed at reducing the budget deficit and lowering the public debt to GDP ratio. In 2012, Austria managed to narrow its public deficit below 3 percent according to (...)

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