The article gives inside into tax system of Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic. It analyses major tax reforms in the country since the early days of its independence (1991) with special attention given to the simplified method of taxation, used for micro-firms and small businesses (MSEs). The results of 30 in-depths interviews with representatives of MSEs revealed substantial reductions in tax rates (the average tax burden is 14.9 per cent) and overall improvements in the business environment. However, despite the numerous changes in Uzbek taxation, the issues related to tax administration (tax audits, reporting and competence of tax inspectors) make it difficult to operate in Uzbekistan without breaking rules. To be effective and successful, tax reform needs to be accompanied by institutional and structural reform throughout the economy.