Hypothetical Laws

Tax Code of the Republic of Taxastan

Income Tax Law for the Commonwealth of Symmetrica

Tax Law Notes

Legal Issues, Governance, and the IMF


On the Tax Law
Drafting Samples
May be sent to fiscallaw@imf.org.

Tax Law Drafting Samples
Including Hypothetical Tax Laws

Last Updated: December 01, 2004

The IMF publication Tax Law Design and Drafting, Volume 1 (1996) and Volume 2 (1998), discusses extensively considerations in drafting tax laws. The IMF Legal Department is in the process of preparing a third volume in this set, which would provide examples of hypothetical tax laws. These differ both in their policy assumptions and drafting styles. In advance of publication in book form, we wished to make some of these samples available to the public.

To begin the process, two quite different texts are being published. One is a tax code drafted for the hypothetical country of "Taxastan," in the style of tax codes found in certain countries of the former Soviet Union. The other, following the drafting style used in the British Commonwealth, is an income tax law drafted for the hypothetical Commonwealth of "Symmetrica."

Neither of these texts contains alternatives; this approach has been followed because the inclusion of alternatives would have precluded a unified and internally coherent text. Policy alternatives can be found by consulting the extensive literature on tax policy. The fact that particular policy choices have therefore necessarily been reflected in the drafts is not intended to represent an endorsement of any of these policies, either as a general matter or for particular countries. The primary intention is to furnish examples of draft statutory language and to illustrate the matters to be covered by a draft law. Drafts prepared for particular countries can be expected to depart from these examples because of considerations of local drafting style, the legislative history of the tax laws in the country in question, and the policy choices made by the authorities.

These drafting samples have not been considered by the IMF Executive Board and, hence, are not official documents of the IMF; they should not be attributed to the IMF as an institution. They have the same status as working papers produced by the staff.
Income Tax Law of the Commonwealth of Symmetrica

The Commonwealth of Symmetrica Sample Income Tax Law and its Commentary were prepared by Dr. Peter Harris during January 1999–June 2000, when he was associated with the IMF Legal Department. It draws heavily on the previous experience of the Legal Department in assisting in the drafting of income tax laws for a number of common-law-based countries. In particular, the "Equitable Republic" sample (still in progress), which is of a similar nature, formed the starting point from which the Symmetrica sample was developed. Nevertheless, the Symmetrica sample developed in a very different direction from the Equitable Republic sample, warranting their separate consideration. Numerous individuals have contributed to preparing these samples. Dr. Harris is the principal author of the Symmetrica sample.

Tax Code of the Republic of Taxastan

This sample Code is based on the Legal Department's work in several countries of the former Soviet Union (including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan). The principal author is Victor Thuronyi (Senior Counsel (Taxation), Legal Department), but as with the Symmetrica sample so many individuals have contributed to it or to earlier drafts from which it borrows heavily that it would be impossible to list them all. This sample tax code contains the provisions for all the taxes applicable in the hypothetical country of Taxastan. It contains a brief introduction, but no commentary at this point.