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IFC Tax Conference to Support Micro and Small Businesses in Europe and Central Asia


In Tbilisi
Tamar Barbakadze, IFC
Phone: +995 32 23 43 00/01/02
E-mail: TBarbakadze@ifc.org

Mariam Khoperia, Georgian Ministry of Finance
Phone +995 32 26 12 85
E-mail: pr@mof.ge

Tbilisi, Georgia, May 4, 2011—A three-day conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, organized by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with Georgia’s Ministry of Finance and International Tax Dialogue, will focus on how simplified tax systems for micro and small businesses support private sector growth.

The conference, Taxing Micro and Small Businesses, begins today and will bring together about 70 participants, including senior finance ministry officials and heads of tax administrations from around 30 countries across Europe and Central Asia.

This is the first time that leading policymakers from across the region are coming together to develop best approaches based on global experience and Georgia's example to improve tax systems to benefit micro and small businesses.

“Georgia has recently taken significant steps towards liberalizing its tax system, including for micro and small businesses,” said Kakha Baindurasvhili, Minister of Finance of Georgia. “The new taxation regimes and benefits for these companies are part of the government’s ‘new course,’ which envisages introduction of a fair, simple, and reliable tax system for businesses. We are glad to share Georgia’s experience with countries taking their first steps to liberalize their tax systems or seeking to streamline them. We highly value the support of IFC and its partners to Georgia in this area.”

The Ministry of Finance of Georgia, one of the co-hosts of the conference, will share its experience in introducing new taxation regimes for micro and small businesses, regulations that helped companies save time and money. International Tax Dialogue, which is a joint initiative of the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, DFID, and the World Bank Group, will provide its global perspective on improving the functioning of national tax systems.

"Micro and small enterprises are a major driver of economic growth and job creation,” said Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Head for the Caucasus. “Our goal is to develop better systems that encourage the sector to grow and increase tax revenue. We are looking to develop a win-win system where everyone benefits. Georgia has made important strides in that respect, and there is a good opportunity to learn from that experience as well.”  

IFC Georgia Tax Simplification Project has supported Georgia in adopting a new tax code and secondary legislation, enacted since January 2011. The new regulations for micro and small companies help reduce administrative burden and compliance costs, and improve company operations. The project is being implemented with financial support from the governments of the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Austria.

To date, IFC Investment Climate Advisory Services in Europe and Central Asia has improved or eliminated over 4,000 regulatory policies and procedures. These reforms have benefitted over 200,000 businesses and helped the private sector save around $421 million.

Today’s conference is supported by the Austrian Ministry of Finance and Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. The conference is part of IFC's regional reform effort to help governments improve tax systems to stimulate growth.

To learn more about International Tax Dialogue, visit www.itdweb.org.
To learn more about the Austrian Ministry of Finance, visit http://english.bmf.gv.at.
To learn more about the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, visit www.seco.admin.ch.
To learn more about the Netherlands-IFC Partnership Program, visit www.minbuza.nl/en/home.
To learn more about the Luxemburg-IFC Partnership Program, visit www.mf.public.lu.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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