By Rasana Gasimova
The volume of Azerbaijan’s tax revenues exceeded the forecast by 4.9 percent in 2019, Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov said on February 12.
Jabbarov said that increase in tax revenues testifies to a positive trend in the transition of the country’s economy to full transparency.
Addressing the press-conference “Tax Reforms: From Shadows to the Light”, Jabbarova noted that the growth of social benefits was also reflected in the context of transparency.
“The number of insured cases by types of compulsory state social insurance and unemployment insurance increased by 24 percent and 40 percent, respectively,” the minister said.
Furthermore, he noted that only two field tax audits accounted for every 1,000 active taxpayers in 2019, adding that in general, the number of field tax audits decreased by 44 percent and about 91 percent of all taxes were paid voluntarily.
“Moreover, an increase in additional payments by 18 percent was observed in 2019."
He further informed that Azerbaijan’s strategic foreign exchange reserves reached $52 billion in 2019, which amounted to 90 percent of the country's GDP.
The economic growth rates increased by 2.2 percent, while those in the non-oil sector by 3.5 percent in 2019, which is two times more than in 2018.
“The export of non-oil products increased by 14 percent and reached $2 billion. The inflation rate amounted to 2.6 percent while cash income of the population exceeded inflation by 2.8 times,” Jabbarov added.
The minister emphasized that the growth in the non-oil sector affected the growth of most indicators, noting that the volumes of paid VAT (24 percent), balances in bank accounts (71 percent), accounts of legal entities (19 percent) and individuals (26 percent) increased in the sector over the past year.
Summing up the results, the minister stressed that the legalization of business is one of the main goals of economic development of the country and important steps are being taken in this sphere to ensure transparency and healthy competition in the business community.
Touching upon other goals of economic development, Jabbarov stressed the spheres as long-term diversification of the economy, development of small and medium-sized businesses, creation of import-substituting domestic production, increasing the country's transit potential and expanding export services.
“Undoubtedly, the country's economic balance and political will are strong. I think that this year will be important in increasing the competitiveness of the economy,” he said.
Addressing the event, Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Taxes Ilkin Valiyev hailed the positive changes that have been made in the Azerbaijani tax system since the beginning of the 1990s.
He recalled that an information and communication system was introduced into the tax system from 2000 through 2006 to automate all tax processes, which allowed the country to improve the transparency of the economic system.
“The Tax Ministry has introduced the online registration of legal entities since 2012. Moreover, a hotline was created and launched in 2013 to assist in all issues related to the tax sphere. A platform was created to simplify the tax system and introduce a cash report in 2016. Then the share of turnover used in the payment of value added tax was expanded in 2019,” Valiyev added.
He said that the changes made in 2020 will allow citizens to return 30 percent of the amount paid for the first acquired real estate, will oblige to register the goods purchased from people not registered by the tax authorities, goods with excise stamps,” he said.
Valiyev noted that other changes can also be reviewed in the future.
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