The Harmonization of Indirect Taxes in the Andean Community

Feb 2005
The approval of Decisions 599 and 600 on the Harmonization of Substantial and Procedural Aspects of Value Added Taxes and the Harmonization of Excise Type Taxes (VAT and selective taxes) by the Commission of the Andean Community is a notable victory for the Andean integration process and sets a precedent in the developing world. The Decisions amount to an agreement on how to design national laws on a modern and administratively coordinated VAT, as well as joint rules on excise taxes. These accords sprang from the political will of the Andean authorities working in this field, the countries¿ technical capacities, and the catalyzing role played by the political authority of the Andean Community¿s General Secretariat (GS), which received technical support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Representatives of the five member countries¿ Finance Ministries and Taxation Directorates participated actively and enthusiastically in these efforts. The process began with a background study commissioned using funds from an IDB regional technical cooperation project, followed by three negotiating rounds and eight meetings of experts and officials organized by the GS (With the financial and technical support of the IDB through the Special Initiative on Trade and Integration).