Temas Variados / Administración Tributaria
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Enviado por: croca 12 marzo 2013
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Management Lessons Learned from Tax Administration
Weatherhead Fellow 2009
This interview with Mrs. Carolina Roca, former Tax and Customs Commissioner of Guatemala, is part of the first seminar of the PAL Initiative carried out during the spring of 2009 at Harvard, in Cambridge, MA.
1. Could you describe the national and institutional context for the organizational change process you implemented at SAT?
Guatemala is the largest economy in Central America, where foreign trade accounts for an important part of the national production, with its main exports being vegetables, bananas, coffee and more recently, services and mining products. It is a country with a great ethnic and cultural diversity, with 50% of the population being descendants of the Mayas. In this group, one finds the highest concentration of poverty and inequality indexes. The government spending accounts for approximately 15% of the Gross Domestic Product, and thus, an extremely limited amount of resources to be invested in the provision of basic public services is one of the major national challenges.
The country underwent a lengthy armed conflict between the Army and the Guerrillas, which ended in 1996 with the signing of the Peace Accords, where important commitments were established to strengthen the foundations of democracy, distribution of wealth, the economy and basic social services. Democratically elected governments, slight improvement in the economic standard of living, as well as some progress in the social and political arenas have been an outcome of the peace process. Among the major economic goals was that of achieving 50% increase in the tax burden in a 5-year term, from 8 to 12%. (One of the lowest in Latin America). A Fiscal Pact between representatives of the civil society and the Government was later agreed, including the creation of an independent entity, exclusively devoted to the Tax Administration.
The Superintendence of Tax Administra
tion –SAT- was created in 1998 to de-politicize and transparent the decision making of tax and customs, and to create an effective and professional entity exclusively dedicated to such task. Its law grants it technical and administrative independence. It can establish its own regulations to manage human resources and the regulations to contract specialized services; it receives 2% of the revenues it collects and its budget is approved by its own Board of Directors and not by Congress, as is the case for all other public institutions. It is audited externally through both, private auditors and by the Government Comptroller. The Board of Directors is chosen by the President from a list of professionals proposed by the Presidents and Deans of the public and private universities, its members are permanent and are not changed with each government administration.
Early in 2005, despite having a good institutional frame, SAT had not proactively taken advantage of its institutional inde ...
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