The first action area of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development is mobilising domestic public resources. Described as “critical to achieving the sustainable development goals,” the countries of the General Assembly committed to “enhancing revenue administration through modernized, progressive tax systems, improved tax policy and more efficient tax collection.”
Key to raising increased tax revenue in an equitable manner that is conducive to economic growth and good governance is rigorous research that can inform both policy and practice. This is the mission of the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD).
A highly valuable source of information is the administrative tax data that revenue administrations hold. Recently, the ICTD has collaborated with African revenue authorities in Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia to make use of this data for pioneering research on tax progressivity, taxpayer communications, and voluntary compliance, including conducting Africa’s first large-scale tax experiment. These research partnerships resulted in policy-relevant findings, increased tax revenue, improved administrative processes, and enhanced research capacity within the revenue authorities.
The theme of the meeting was “Using Research to Improve Revenue Collection in Africa”. The programme covered a range of tax issues pertinent to Africa including tax treaties, transfer pricing, property taxation, tobacco taxation, gender and tax, the links between taxation and accountability, taxing wealthy individuals, and the role of technologies in increasing tax compliance.
The keynote address was delivered by Henry Saka, the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes of the URA, who discussed “Why Tax Administrations Should Consider a Public Sector Office.” The keynote was broadcast live on Facebook, and you can watch it here.
On October 19, the ICTD hosted the African Tax Administrator’s Research Day, during which nine members of revenue administrations from across the continent presented their research in progress and received feedback from the ICTD network.