Tax Reform in Kazakhstan, 1993-95

ACES is pleased to host this document pertaining to tax reform in Kazakhstan in the early-1990s. Please see below for an introduction and a link to download.

Tax Reform in Kazakhstan, 1993-95:

A Cooperative Effort

Charles E. McLure, Jr.

On April 24, 1995 Kazakhstan enacted the first modern tax law in the former Soviet Union, consisting of individual and corporate income taxes, a value-added tax, and excises. The Tax Act reflected two years of input by foreign advisers to the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan, the agency responsible for writing the new law and shepherding it through the parliament.

In several respects, the way technical advice was delivered to the Ministry was highly unusual, if not unique. First, representatives of three large multinational organizations (the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), two agencies of the US government (the US Treasury Department and the US Agency for International Development), an international law firm (Skadden, Arps), and a tiny new American non-profit organization (the International Tax and Investment Center, ITIC) cooperated closely to provide coordinated advice; institutional jealousies did not get in the way. Second, what is doubly amazing is that the other foreign organizations not only accepted ITIC as an equal partner; they named it secretariat for the tax reform effort.

The linked “roadmap” article does three things. First, it describes what the foreign tax reform organizations and their local counterparts, primarily in the Ministry of Finance, did in creating the new tax law. Second, it provides references to documents produced by these organizations and the Ministry that were donated to the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University in March 2019. Third, it speculates on why the cooperation described – and ITIC’s role in it – occurred. [Click here to view]