Protest for MPs to pay their taxes in Uganda

Call for research proposals: Tax and civil society



Civil society can play an influential role in achieving more equitable taxation—in terms of how revenue is collected and how it is spent—through advocating for fairer and more equitable tax systems and strengthening the ability of taxpayers to hold governments to account. Despite this, significant challenges to effective civil society action exist, and little is known about how civil society can actually help to achieve more equitable taxation in practice.


The ICTD research programme on tax and civil society aims to deepen knowledge of the strategies and tools that civil society may use in order to support more equitable taxation and to use that knowledge as a platform for advocacy efforts pushing for reform. We particularly encourage research in two interrelated areas:

(1) Advocacy for fairer and more equitable tax systems

Civil society can play an important role in advocating for more equitable tax systems, though little is known about how it can do so effectively, particularly in light of the challenges of political resistance and poor coordination among different actors.

  • What advocacy efforts may have the most impact? Where has advocacy been particularly effective? Where has it failed?
  • What enables broad coalitions of support for fairer and more equitable taxation?
  • How can effective links be made between local, national, and international advocacy groups?

(2) Taxpayer engagement and government accountability and responsiveness

Civil society may further contribute to more equitable taxation by strengthening the ability of taxpayers to hold governments to account—through there are key questions about how it may do so most effectively.

  • What strategies are most effective for engaging taxpayers and encouraging governments to respond positively to taxpayer demands? What are the most effective ways of increasing the engagement of smaller taxpayers in policymaking?
  • What types of civil society groups can best represent taxpayer interests? How can business associations and other civil society organisations most effectively represent the interests of smaller taxpayers?
  • What is the role of taxpayer education and tax literacy in building a culture of tax compliance and accountability? What are the most effective ways of increasing the tax literacy of small taxpayers? How can tax literacy programmes have the greatest impact on taxpayer engagement?

Submit a proposal

We are primarily interested in sub-Saharan African and South Asia, and particularly welcome proposals from low-income country researchers or teams that include collaboration between Northern and Southern researchers.

There is no deadline. We will accept proposals on a rolling basis. Research grants can be small or large, based on the scale of the project proposed and the research methodology, and can be short or long-term.

Submit your proposal via this form. For further guidance on preparing a research proposal and how we contract research projects, see here. Please send any queries relating to this call to Vanessa van den Boogaard at:

Please note: Our current process for funding research projects has been adapted to reflect the risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Proposals should ideally refer explicitly, even if briefly, to Covid-19 risks, and possible implications, in order to facilitate project review. Please see here for more detail.

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Image credit: © ActionAid