16.06.2021 | DIE: Global Tax Expenditures Database – Official Launch

The Council on Economic Policies (CEP) and the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) are officially launching their joint project: The Global Tax Expenditures Database (GTED): www.GTED.net. GTED is the first database that brings together publicly available official information on tax expenditures worldwide and seeks to improve reporting, enhance scrutiny, and, ultimately, contribute to the design of effective and fair tax expenditures across the world.

Governments use a wide range of policies to pursue public objectives. An important part of their toolkit are the benefits they provide to certain taxpayers through tax breaks – or as many call them “tax expenditures”.

Indeed, a significant amount of government funding worldwide is channeled through tax incentives for firms, tax deductions for households, and lower tax rates for specific goods. In the United States, tax expenditures reduce federal government revenue by more than 1.4 trillion Dollars a year: that is almost 7% of GDP and roughly one third of federal government spending. The average fiscal cost of tax expenditures across the European Union lies around 4% of GDP, and can even exceed 10% as in Czechia and Finland. Tax expenditures in developing and emerging economies are also significant. For instance, they amount to more than 4% of GDP in Brazil and South Africa, and come close to 8% in Colombia and Senegal.

Yet, despite their magnitude and the fact that their net impact on government budgets is the same as direct spending, tax expenditures are often opaque and hidden from public scrutiny. As a consequence, they are hardly ever assessed in terms of costs and benefits. This is particularly worrisome since tax expenditures are often ineffective in reaching their stated goals and can trigger negative social and environmental side effects, such as exacerbating inequality and contributing to climate change.

Against the background of growing fiscal needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CEP and DIE are convinced that the information provided by the Global Tax Expenditures Database (GTED) will be particularly relevant for governments and the public in general.


Keynote Speech
Pascal Saint-Amans, Director, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD

Main Findings of the GTED Flagship Report
Christian von Haldenwang, Senior Researcher, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Panel 1: Filling Knowledge Gaps
Alexander Klemm, Division Chief, Tax Policy Division, IMF
Nara Monkam, Research Director, Africa Tax Administration Forum (ATAF)
Santiago Diaz de Sarralde, Research Director, Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT)

Moderation: Stefanie Johnston, Chief Correspondent

Key Insights from the GTED Website
Agustin Redonda, Senior Fellow, Council on Economic Policies (CEP)

Panel 2: Driving a Reform Agenda
Jürgen Zattler, Deputy Director General, Multilateral and European Policy, BMZ
Natalia Aristizabal Mora, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and UN Tax Committee Member.
Paul Tang, MEP & Chair, Subcommittee on Tax Matters (FISC), European Parliament

Moderation: Stefanie Johnston, Chief Correspondent

More information & registration

Source: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), 02 June 2021