Tax Administration and Compliance

Image credit: © Uganda Revenue Authority, Vanessa van den Boogaard

Many of the challenges low-income countries face in mobilising domestic resources are related to tax administration as much as tax policy. Our research on this theme encompasses all aspects of tax administration, from technology adoption, to data management and strategies for collecting revenue from different types of taxpayers. Tax compliance is a key focus, as low-income countries struggle with widespread evasion, corruption, and limited administrative capacity. Our research on compliance includes survey-based studies of taxpayers’ perceptions and attitudes, case studies, and large-scale field experiments.

Publications:

March 2018
Forest Taxation and REDD+: An Analysis of Potential Impacts in Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone
by Stephen Spratt, Philip Kargbo, Emmanuel Marfo, Emmanuel Ngungoh & Sabaheta Ramcilovik-Suominen

This research explores the impacts that REDD+ could have on forest tax systems in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and considers how policy could be designed to increase the chances that these impacts are positive. To assess this, a methodological framework is identified and adapted. The framework has been used to explore how the implementation…

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March 2018
Semi-Autonomous Revenue Authorities in sub-Saharan Africa: Silver Bullet or White Elephant?
by Roel Dom

A major component of tax administration reform in sub-Saharan Africa over the last thirty years has been the creation of semi-autonomous revenue authorities (SARAs). These operate at arm’s length from the ministry of finance, which is different to conventional tax administrations. They have an independent legal status, and usually integrate both customs and tax functions….

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February 2018
Taxing High Net Worth Individuals: Lessons from the Uganda Revenue Authority’s Experience
by Jalia Kangave, Susan Nakato, Ronald Waiswa, Milly. I. Nalukwago & Patrick Lumala Zzimbe

This brief examines the experience of Uganda in increasing tax compliance from wealthy individuals, compares its approach to that of other countries’ tax authorities, and draws lessons that they can learn from each other.

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January 2018
What Can We Learn from the Uganda Revenue Authority’s Approach to Taxing High Net Worth Individuals?
by Jalia Kangave, Susan Nakato, Ronald Waiswa, Milly Nalukwago & Patrick Lumala Zzimbe

This paper examines the experience of Uganda in increasing tax compliance from wealthy individuals, compares its approach to that of other countries’ tax authorities, and draws lessons that they can learn from each other.

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January 2018
How Do We Research Tax Morale at the Subnational Level?
by Jalia Kangave, Giulia Mascagni & Mick Moore

One of the most effective ways of increasing voluntary tax compliance is by improving tax morale. Several studies have been undertaken to examine why some individuals pay taxes while others do not. While many of these studies have been conducted at the national level, there is an increasing body of research at the subnational level. Three…

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November 2017
How Can Governments of Low-Income Countries Collect More Tax Revenue?
by Mick Moore & Wilson Prichard

It is widely believed that the governments of many low-income countries, and especially the relatively poor performers, should be aiming to increase the proportion of GDP they raise in tax revenue. There are risks in emphasising increasing revenue at the expense of other objectives. Governments also need to be concerned with questions of equity, efficiency,…

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January 2017
Using Internal and External Sources of Information to Reduce Customs Evasion
by Cyril Chalendard

This paper aims to identify some factors that reduce evasion of customs duties in developing countries. Following the recent literature on customs evasion, we proxy customs fraud by discrepancies in bilateral trade statistics. Estimates first show that the more frequently a product is imported, the more customs fraud reduces. We argue that this result is…

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November 2016
Africa’s First Large-Scale Tax Experiment: Researching Compliance in Rwanda
by Rhiannon McCluskey

This brief summarises the findings from five ICTD working papers produced from a research project conducted by the ICTD in partnership with the African Tax Administration Forum and in collaboration with the Rwanda Revenue Authority. It includes information about the value of administrative data and tax experiments for research and policy, as well as the results…

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March 2017
Communicating to Improve Compliance: Taxpayers’ Feedback on Message and Mode of Delivery in Rwanda
by Denis Mukama, John Karangwa & Naphtal Hakizimana

The journey from coercion to persuasion to drive tax compliance started gradually for the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA). This is shown in the mission and core value statements that underpin the tax administration’s activities in service delivery and trade facilitation. Recently the RRA has undertaken aggressive tax education and sensitisation campaigns in order to influence…

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January 2017
One Size Does Not Fit All: A Field Experiment on the Drivers of Tax Compliance and Delivery Methods in Rwanda
by Giulia Mascagni, Christopher Nell & Nara Monkam

Although field experiments in tax compliance represent a growing area of research, the literature has so far focussed exclusively on high and middle-income countries. This paper starts to fill this gap by reporting the results of a tax field experiment in Rwanda, while also highlighting some characteristics that may be common to other low-income countries….

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Blogs:

October 2017
by Kyle McNabb

The increasing focus on domestic resource mobilization in developing countries means that, for researchers and policy makers, access to accurate and timely data is more important than ever. The Government Revenue Dataset (GRD) — developed by the International Centre for Tax and Development and now maintained by UNU-WIDER — remains the most complete source of…

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November 2016
by Anzetse Were

Last week I participated in a panel discussion at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Tax Summit on tax policy and economic development. Current fiscal policy is defined by a widening gap between expenditure and revenue generation putting a spotlight on the country’s tax regime and how to expand tax collection. While there are steps that…

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July 2016
by Rhiannon McCluskey

Last week, the Institute of Development Studies hosted its 50th anniversary conference titled “States, Markets and Society“.  As part of the conference, the ICTD hosted a panel on the theme of taxation and fiscal contracts in Africa. The panellists were ICTD’s research directors Wilson Prichard and Giulia Mascagni, our Capacity Building Manager Jalia Kangave, and…

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