Showing 1 - 12 of 143 publications
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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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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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

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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February 2022

Innovations in Tax Compliance: Building Trust, Navigating Politics, and Tailoring Reform

by Roel Dom, Anna Custers, Stephen Davenport & Wilson Prichard

Recent decades have seen important progress in strengthening country tax systems. Yet many areas of reform have remained stubbornly resistant to major improvements. Overall, revenue collection still falls short of that needed for effective governance and service delivery. Tax collection is too often riddled with high rates of evasion among large corporations and the rich…

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February 2022

Digital financial services and digital IDs: What potential do they have for better taxation in Africa?

by Fabrizio Santoro, Laura Munoz, Wilson Prichard & Giulia Mascagni

New digital technologies are now being widely used in Africa and lower-income countries (LICs). This has had an impact on tax administration, which has been increasingly digitised. Specifically Digital Financial Services (DFS) and digital IDs can improve tax administration. They have the potential to identify taxpayers more easily, communicate with them better, enforce and monitor…

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February 2022

Should Governments Tax Digital Financial Services? A Research Agenda to Understand Sector-Specific Taxes on DFS

by Laura Munoz, Giulia Mascagni, Wilson Prichard & Fabrizio Santoro

Digital financial services (DFS) have rapidly expanded across Africa and other low-income countries. At the same time, low-income countries face strong pressures to increase domestic resource mobilisation, and major challenges in taxing the digital economy. A growing number are therefore advancing or considering new taxes on DFS. These have generated much debate and there are…

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February 2022

The Promise and Limitations of Information Technology for Tax Mobilisation

by Oyebola Okunogbe & Fabrizio Santoro

Tax revenue in many low-income countries is inadequate for funding investments in public goods and human capital. While tax systems have been adopting new technologies to improve tax collection for many years, limitations to in-person interactions due to COVID-19 have further highlighted the role of information technology in tax mobilisation. This paper examines the potential…

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January 2022

The Rise of China and Contestation in Global Tax Governance

by Martin Hearson & Rasmus Corlin Christensen

This paper examines the relationship between China’s changing economy and its global business tax diplomacy. Three trends dominate: China is becoming a net capital exporter, emerging as a major consumer market, and is home to digital giant firms including Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba. The resulting drive to promote both ‘going out’ and ‘bringing in’ foreign…

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December 2021

Tax Compliance in Rwanda: Evidence from a Message Field Experiment

by Giulia Mascagni & Christopher Nell

In early 2016 the Rwanda Revenue Authority sent messages to 9,000 taxpayers, aimed to encourage compliance. Each taxpayer was randomly allocated to a treatment group, or to a control group that received no message. Treatment messages varied in terms of content (deterrence, fiscal exchange, reminder) and delivery method (letter, email, SMS). Our RCT evaluates the…

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November 2021

Glimpses of Fiscal States in sub-Saharan Africa

by Mick Moore

There is a widespread perception that taxing in sub-Saharan Africa has been and remains fraught with problems or government failure. This is not generally true. For more than a century, colonial administrations and independent states have steadily developed the capacity to routinely collect more substantial revenues than one might expect in a low-income region. The…

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