Showing 1 - 12 of 415 publications
June 2022

Property Taxes and State Incapacity in Pakistan

by Muhammad Mujtaba Piracha

This book shows how Pakistan’s inability to collect taxes reflects a broader disconnection between the state and its citizens, which translates into growing fiscal deficits, poor service delivery, increasing socio economic inequalities and low democratic accountability. Through extensive primary fieldwork, which included original interviews with tax bureaucrats and policymakers, detailed archival work and analysis of…

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June 2022

Small Nets for Big Fish? Tax Enforcement on the Richest – Evidence from Uganda

by Fabrizio Santoro & Ronald Waiswa

Appropriately taxing the richest is a priority for every government, even more so in Africa, where higher revenue mobilisation is needed to fund growth. In Uganda, the revenue authority launched a specific unit to monitor the tax affairs of the richest individuals. Thanks to a close collaboration with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), we evaluate…

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June 2022

Enablers, Barriers and Impacts of Digital Financial Services: Insights from an Evidence Gap Map and Implications for Taxation

by Philip Mader, Maren Duvendack, Adrienne Lees, Aurelie Larquemin & Keir Macdonald

Digital financial services (DFS) have expanded rapidly over the last decade, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. They have been accompanied by claims that they can alleviate poverty, empower women, help businesses grow, and improve macroeconomic outcomes and government effectiveness. As they have become more widespread, some controversy has arisen as governments have identified DFS revenues and…

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No smoking gun: tobacco taxation and smuggling in Sierra Leone

by Giovanni Occhiali & Max Gallien

Objective To evaluate the common industry claim that higher tobacco taxation leads to higher levels of smuggling, particularly in a limited state capacity setting. Design This paper evaluates the effects of a tobacco tax increase in Sierra Leone on smuggling by using gap analyses. Its models are based on multiple rounds of the Demographic and…

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Tax obsessions: Taxpayer registration and the informal sector in sub-Saharan Africa

by Mick Moore

Motivation There are three puzzling features of sub-Saharan African tax systems: tax administrations maintain records on vast numbers of small enterprises that actually provide no revenue; they continually invest resources into registering even more of these “unproductive taxpayers”; and discussions about taxing small enterprises are framed by the ambiguous, misleading concept of the “informal sector”….

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Developing influence: the power of ‘the rest’ in global tax governance

by Martin Hearson, Rasmus Corlin Christensen & Tovony Randriamanalina

As Western-led institutions of global governance adapt to global power shifts, the question of which countries dominate, and how, increasingly animates scholarship. Yet while attention has shifted from ‘Great’ to ‘Rising’ Powers, the underlying focus on market power has changed little. In this article, we shift the focus to alternative forms of power that developing…

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The Likely Fiscal and Public Health Effects of an Excise Tax on Sugar sweetened Beverages in Kenya

by Corné van Walbeek & Senzo Mthembu

Historically, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have typically been associated with tobacco and alcohol use. However, in recent decades increased levels of overweightness and obesity, mostly caused by poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle, have increased diabetes, cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. There is a general agreement that sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) are bad for one’s health….

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Mandating Digital Tax Tools as a Response to Covid: Evidence from Eswatini

by Fabrizio Santoro, Razan Amine & Tanele Magongo

Many tax authorities changed the mode of interacting with taxpayers from physical to online as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to diminish the spread of the virus. Eswatini, the country under study, mandated the use of online tax filing through the e-Tax system for all income tax payers, coupled with a zero-cash-handling policy for…

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April 2022

The Economic Impact of the Pandemic in Rwanda: An Analysis of Firm-Level VAT Data

by Giulia Mascagni & Adrienne Lees

There are substantial differences in the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and policy responses to it between high- and low-income countries. While evidence on the former is growing, there remain more unanswered questions on the latter. This paper addresses this gap by providing insights on the impact of the pandemic in Rwanda, based on firm-level…

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April 2022

Grounding ActionAid’s Tax Justice Campaigns in Nigeria

by Ma Josep Cascant-Sempere

Integrating the demands raised by those most affected by poverty into international campaigns is important for safeguarding ethical integrity and encouraging mobilization. This article examines the case of the international non-governmental organization (INGO) ActionAid, which managed, although not without challenges, to integrate the tax complaints of market traders — such as multiple taxation — into…

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April 2022

Active Ghosts: Nil-filing in Rwanda

by Giulia Mascagni, Fabrizio Santoro, Denis Mukama, John Karangwa & Napthal Hakizimana

Nil-filing refers to taxpayers who report zero on all fields of their tax declaration. It is a largely ignored phenomenon in the tax literature, despite being well known to tax administrators. There is almost no evidence on the characteristics of nil-filers and the reasons for their apparently puzzling behaviour. This paper sheds light on this…

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March 2022

Co-financing community-driven development through informal taxation: Evidence from south-central Somalia

by Vanessa van den Boogaard & Fabrizio Santoro

Community contributions are often required as part of community-driven development programs, with contributions encouraged through matching grants. However, little remains known about the impact of matching grants or the implications of requiring community contributions—also known as informal taxation. We explore this research gap through a randomized control trial of a matching grant program in Gedo…

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