Showing 1 - 12 of 76 publications
January 2022

Enabling Tax Bargaining: Supporting More Meaningful Tax Transparency and Taxpayer Engagement in Ghana and Sierra Leone

by Vanessa van den Boogaard, Wilson Prichard, Rachel Beach & Fariya Mohiuddin

While there is increasing evidence that taxation can contribute to greater government responsiveness and accountability, such positive outcomes are not guaranteed. If the environment does not enable tax bargaining, there is a risk that taxation will amount to little more than enforced extraction. We consider how such enabling environments may be fostered and identify specific…

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December 2021

Informal Workers and the State: The Politics of Connection and Disconnection During a Global Pandemic

by Max Gallien & Vanessa van den Boogaard

In low- and middle-income countries, informal workers are particularly vulnerable to the health and economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and often neglected by policy responses. At the same time, the crisis is rapidly changing the ways that states engage with informal workers. We argue that the relationships between informal workers and states – and…

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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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November 2021

Beyond Greed: Why Armed Groups Tax

by Tanya Bandula-Irwin, Max Gallien, Ashley Jackson, Vanessa van den Boogaard & Florian Weigand

Armed groups tax. Journalistic accounts often include a tone of surprise about this fact, while policy reports tend to strike a tone of alarm, highlighting the link between armed group taxation and ongoing conflict. Policymakers often focus on targeting the mechanisms of armed group taxation as part of their conflict strategy, often described as ‘following…

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November 2021

Assessing the Equity and Redistributive Effects of Taxation Reforms in Nigeria

by Henry C. Edeh

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of poverty and inequality reduction through redistribution have indeed become critical concerns in many low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria. Although redistribution results from the effect of tax revenue collections, micro household-level empirical analyses of the distributional effect of personal income tax (PIT) and value added tax (VAT) reforms…

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October 2021

There and Back Again: The Making of Uganda’s Mobile Money Tax

by Adrienne Lees & Doris Akol

Mobile money is widely seen as a powerful tool for enhancing financial inclusion and, potentially, improving the economic well-being of the poor. As the mobile money sector, and its turnover, have grown, certain governments have increasingly viewed mobile money transactions as a potentially convenient tax handle. The resulting tax measures are often controversial and draw…

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Fuel subsidy reform and the social contract in Nigeria: A micro-economic analysis

by Neil McCulloch, Tom Moerenhout & Joonseok Yang

Fuel subsidies in Nigeria are enormous – around USD 3.9 billion – almost double the health budget. Such subsidies come at great cost: the opportunity costs of such spending on other development objectives are large; the distribution of resources to the state governments is reduced; the vast majority of the subsidy goes to better off Nigerians; and…

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July 2021

There and Back Again: The Making of Uganda’s Mobile Money Tax

by Doris Akol & Adrienne Lees

This paper evaluates the appropriateness of the tax policymaking process that led to the introduction, and the later adaptation, of a tax on mobile money transactions in Uganda in 2018. We examine the unusual source of the proposal, how this particular tax diverged from the usual tax policymaking process, and whether certain key stakeholders were…

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Taxation and Customs Reforms in Fragile States: Between Bargaining and Enforcement

by Thomas Cantens & Gael Raballand

This paper explores why taxation reforms are so different in fragile states, the conditions in which they occur, and what can be done to make these reforms more successful – including contributing, whenever possible, to state-building. Based on extensive engagement and fieldwork in the Sahel and other regions in sub-Saharan Africa (including Central and West…

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March 2021

Trade Tax Evasion and the Tax Rate: Evidence from Transaction-level Trade Data

by Andualem T Mengistu, Kiflu G Molla & Giulia Mascagni

This paper explores the relationship between tax rates and tax evasion in a low-income country context: Ethiopia. By using transaction-level administrative trade data, the authors are able to provide an analysis that is largely comparable with the rest of the literature while also introducing two important innovations. First, they compare the elasticity of evasion to…

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March 2021

Explaining Informal Taxation and Revenue Generation: Evidence from south-central Somalia

by Vanessa van den Boogaard & Fabrizio Santoro

Most people in low-income countries contribute substantially to the financing of local public goods through informal revenue generation (IRG). However, very little is known about how IRG works in practice. We produce novel evidence on the magnitude and regressivity of IRG and its relationship with the state in a fragile context, Somalia. We rely on…

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January 2021

Tax Certainty? The Private Rulings Regime in Uganda in Comparative Perspective

by Samuel Kahima, Solomon Rukundo & Victor Phillip Makmot

Taxpayers sometimes engage in complex transactions with uncertain tax treatment, such as mergers, acquisitions, demergers and spin-offs. With the rise of global value chains and proliferation of multinational corporations, these transactions increasingly involve transnational financial arrangements and cross-border dealings, making tax treatment even more uncertain. If improperly structured, such transactions could have costly tax consequences….

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