News just in - the Interamerican Development Bank (IADB) is planning to finance the development of an index of fiscal transparency and citizenship. In a piece published in Valor Econômico
, a Brazilian economics weekly (in Portuguese, requires free registration,) it is noted that:
"the tool will be used by Brazilian states to evaluate two important aspects: efficiency of public spending and the quality of access and comprehensiveness of information accessible on the Internet" .
This is part of a partnership with the IABD where they are investing in strengthening fiscal systems across Latin America. The index is being developed by the Nucleus of Fiscal Studies (NEF) at the Getulio Vargas Foundation University (FGV in Portuguese initials), and the index should be ready by end of 2012.
The index is supposed to be accessible to ordinary citizens, in the hope that more public scrutiny would lead to more transparent and accountable fiscal systems.It is also hoped that more transparency would help reduce the complexity of paying taxes in Brazil, which is a problem in itself, rather than high taxes per se.
It will also look at how the government collects taxes, in contrast to some existing indexes, such as that produced by the International Budget Project (IBP), which looks at how tax money is spent, and Transparency International (TI) which focuses on perceptions of corruption.
We hope that the Brazilian index will include some of the points from TJN's own Financial Secrecy Index (FSI) - such as availability of beneficial ownership information -- as well as effectiveness of information exchange agreements that Brazil has signed with other countries.
We wish all best for the team at the NEF-FGV in shedding light in how taxes are being collected in Brazil, and we will wait with interest for the results.