The ICTD contributed substantially to the Afrobarometer survey questionnaire by adding tax questions, with an aim to understand how citizens perceive and experience taxation as a determinant of tax compliance.
The questions were included as part of an ICTD research project titled ‘Taxpayer Compliance and Perceptions in Africa.’ The resulting Round 5 dataset is available to download here.
The project’s lead researchers, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad Collette Schulz-Herzenberg and Ingrid Hoem Sjursen, commissioned the organisers of the 2012 round of the AfroBarometer survey to ask a series of questions about tax in nine countries they selected as being especially interesting. They then triangulated some of those findings with more detailed and focused surveys they organised in some of the Afrobarometer countries and explored the potential for linking studies of taxpayers’ perceptions to ongoing innovations in the study of tax incidence to better understand the actual taxpaying experience of low-income taxpayers in particular, including the importance of ‘informal taxes’.
The journal article, “To Pay or Not To Pay: Citizens’ attitudes towards taxation in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa“, is one of ICTD’s pieces of research that made use of the Afrobarometer survey data, to determine citizens’ tax-compliance attitudes in the named countries.
Using the 2011/2012 Afrobarometer survey data, researchers found that tax-compliance attitude is positively correlated with the provision of public services in the four countries studied. However, the correlation depends on the specific service in question and differs between countries. Tax knowledge and awareness are found to be positively correlated with tax-compliance attitude. On the other hand, frequent payment to non-state actors in exchange for security and individual’s perception that their own ethnic group is treated unfairly by the government are negatively correlated with tax- compliance attitude.