May 13, 2014

Public Presentation on Armenian Tax Perception Survey

By Diana Hovakimyan

On May 7th, 2014, the USAID-funded Tax Reform Project (TRP) team held a public presentation on Armenian Tax Perception Survey 2013, which was designed and conducted by Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC)-Armenia in November-December 2013. More than 1,440 households and 400 business entities and individual entrepreneurs, selected through multi-stage clusterized sampling, were interviewed in all regions of the Republic of Armenia via face-to-face interviews with standardized questionnaire.


The main goals of survey were to identify attitudes of general public and business community toward the tax authorities, facilitate an improved public-private discourse, help develop effective and efficient tax policies and tax administration, and raise awareness of tax policy and tax administration related issues in the Republic of Armenia. Public presentation of the CRRC-Armenia implemented survey results was an opportunity for the Government of Armenia, private sector organizations, advocacy groups, business associations, as well as tax professionals and other interested stakeholders to get information on public perceptions about tax related issues, and discuss the main findings of the survey. 


In his opening remarks Mr. Janusz Szyrmer, Chief of Party of the USAID Tax Reform Project, emphasized the significance of such initiative. Mr. Gagik Khachatryan, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Armenia, mentioned that the survey results could serve as an important guide in developing the tax code. Director of USAID/Armenia Karen Hilliard noted that there was a need to conduct the survey annually in order to benchmark the progress of the Armenian tax system over time. According to Dr. Hilliard, the implemented survey will play a key role in promoting dialogue between the state and private sector. In addition, Mr. Jean-Michel Happi, the World Bank Country Manager for Armenia recognized the importance of the survey in improving the tax system in Armenia. 



Afterwards, CRRC-Armenia Program Coordinator Lusine Zakaryan presented the main findings of the survey. According to the findings, 67% of household respondents receive information about taxes from the TV and radio, whereas 48% of businesses receive the same information from tax bodies.



Fifty percent of households and 52% of businesses agreed that if paying taxes were easy and less-time consuming, people would be more willing to pay them. 




Other findings indicated that one of the main reasons for avoiding or evading tax payments for the majority of households (58%) and businesses (56%) were high tax rates. 



Interestingly, 44% of all surveyed businesses think that businesses pay bribes to tax/customs authorities, and one of the reasons (36%) for this is to pay less taxes.

 


At the end, Mr. Armen Alaverdyan, Deputy Head of the State Revenue Committee mentioned that there was a need to make a comparative study with other transition countries to have more complex and consolidated approach in the long run.

Other information on TRP can be accessed through CRRC-Armenia website.






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