Current

Does Gender Matter in Tax Compliance? The Case of URA’s Individual Taxpayers

Project Researchers: Ronald Waiswa, Uganda Revenue Authority, Nathan Sebaggala & Jalia Kangave, ICTD
Past Project

There is now an extensive body of literature looking into the factors that influence tax compliance. These studies, loosely known as tax morale studies, employ various tools to understand why some people pay taxes while others do not. In some cases, the studies are gender disaggregated, thereby enabling us to understand how men and women behave differently. The findings in this regard have been mixed. While these studies help us understand taxation from a gender perspective, many of them are based on surveys or simulation exercises, neither of which tells us with certainly how individuals would react when making real life decisions about whether or not to pay taxes (Mascgani, 2016). The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) collects detailed taxpayer data at the time of registration consisting of information on gender, age, marital status, citizenship, residence and sources of income. This data can be matched with that of tax returns, payments and international trade data to examine the actual compliance behaviour of different taxpayer categories. While the URA has always been in possession of this information, to date, no study had been undertaken to analyse the behaviour of taxpayers based on their gender. Similarly, there are no official gender disaggregated statistics on tax revenue collections. The study seeks to add to the scant body of literature on the relationship between gender and taxes by using URA administrative data. The central research question is: What is the compliance behaviour of female-led enterprises vis-à-vis that of male-led enterprises?