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Institute of Public Finance

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Reform of labour taxes in Latvia 2011-2013

Ilmārs Šņucins, Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Finance of Latvia, Riga, Latvia
Ieva Kodoliņa-Miglāne, Head of Tax Policy Strategy Division, Ministry of Finance of Latvia, Riga, Latvia

The paper analyses the motives for and results of the labour tax reforms undertaken by the Latvian government in 2011-2013 with a special focus on the lowwage sector. The reforms were developed with the goal of overcoming negative effects on the labour market caused by the deep economic crisis in 2008-2010 as well as of coping with an increase in labour tax burdens during consolidation. In 2008-2010, Latvia was seriously affected by the global economic crisis and during these years real gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 21 percent. Labour market conditions became worse rapidly and at the beginning of 2010, the unemployment rate reached 21.5 per cent of the economically active population. For the period of 2011-2016, the reforms provide for a reduction in the rates of personal income tax (PIT) and social security contributions (SSC) as well as for an increase in PIT allowances. Taking into account the changes made in labour tax laws, we employed forecasts of average wages and applied the Eurostat methodology to calculate the tax wedge for different groups of employees depending on income level and on the number of their dependants. The results show that the impact of the reform varies greatly and it is more beneficial for employees with dependants and for low-wage earners. The findings of the paper contribute to policy discussions and decisions on the tax wedge, especially in the Euro area. In the period covered by the paper, about half of the Euro area member states (including Latvia) received a country-specific recommendation to address this issue in the context of the European Semester.

Keywords:  tax reform; personal income tax; social security contributions; tax wedge; tax allowance; Latvia

Year:  2015   |   Volume:  39   |   Issue:  4   |   Pages:  371 - 391   

Full text (PDF)   |   DOI: 10.3326/fintp.39.4.2   |   E-mail this article   |   Download to citation manager
 December, 2015
IV / 2015
EBSCO Publishing
ISSN 1846-887X
e-ISSN 1845-9757
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