Latin America and the Caribbean: Economic recovery and higher commodity prices drive rebound in tax revenues

16/05/2023 – Tax revenues as a share of GDP in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) rebounded to their pre-pandemic level in 2021 amid an economic recovery and higher commodity prices, according to a new report.

Revenue Statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean 2023, released today at the 35th Regional Fiscal Seminar in Santiago, Chile, reveals that the average tax-to-GDP ratio in the LAC region rose by 0.8 percentage points (p.p.) in 2021 to 21.7%, which is the same level as in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The LAC average tax-to-GDP ratio remained lower than the OECD average of 34.1% of GDP in 2021, by 12.5 p.p.

The new report shows that tax-to-GDP ratios in the LAC region ranged from 12.7% in Panama to 33.5% in Brazil in 2021. The ratio increased in 18 of 25 countries between 2020 and 2021 and declined in the remaining seven countries.

The largest increase was observed in Belize (up by 5.0 p.p. from the previous year), which benefited from a recovery in tourism-related revenue. Strong revenue growth in Chile (2.8 p.p.), Peru (2.7 p.p.) and Brazil (2.4 p.p.) was supported by higher commodity prices and increased revenues from taxes on goods and services, driven by the economic recovery.

The largest decline was observed in Guyana, where nominal GDP rose by 47% in 2021 amid a sharp increase in natural resource production, while tax revenues rose by 16%, resulting in a 4.5 p.p. decline in the tax-to-GDP ratio.

After falling by 0.7 p.p. in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, revenues from taxes on goods and services bounced back across the LAC region in 2021, rising by 0.8% of GDP on average.

Taxes on goods and services remained the main source of tax revenues in the LAC region in 2021, accounting for 50% of total tax revenues on average, with value-added tax accounting for 29.9% of the total. Income taxes generated 26.7% of total tax revenues, with revenues from corporate income tax accounting for 15.4% of total tax revenues.

According to the new report, the hydrocarbon and mining sectors have given a major boost to public revenues in the LAC region. Hydrocarbon-related revenues in the major oil producers rose from 2.1% of GDP on average in 2020 to 2.6% of GDP in 2021 and an estimated 4.2% of GDP in 2022. Mining revenues in major mineral producers rose to 0.68% of GDP in 2021 (their highest level since 2011) and an estimated 0.70% of GDP in 2022.

Revenue Statistics in Latin America and the Caribbean 2023 is a joint publication by the Inter-American Center of Tax Administrations (CIAT), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Centre for Tax Policy and Administration and the OECD Development Centre.

To access the report, data, overview, country notes and infographics go to http://oe.cd/revstatslac

Press contacts

  • CIAT: Information, Publications and Institutional Events Manager, Neila Jaén (njaen@ciat.org; T: +507 307 2428)
  • ECLAC: Public Information Unit (prensa@cepal.org; T:+56 2 2210 2040)
  • IDB: Communications Division, Vanessa Molina (vanessamo@iadb.org; T: +1 202 623 3101)
  • OECD: Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (Tyler@oecd.org; T: +33 1 45 24 98 17); OECD Development Centre (Bochra.Kriout@oecd.org; T: +33 1 45 24 82 96)

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