Showing 1-11 of 355 publications
May 2021

Imposing Standards: The North-South Dimension to Global Tax Politics

by Martin Hearson

In Imposing Standards: The North-South Dimension to Global Tax Politics, ICTD Research Fellow Martin Hearson shifts the focus of political rhetoric regarding international tax rules from tax havens and the Global North to the damaging impact of this regime on the Global South. Even when not exploited by tax dodgers, international tax standards place severe limits…

April 2021

Taxing the Informal Economy is not a Silver Bullet for Financing Development – or the Covid-19 Recovery

by Max Gallien, Vanessa van den Boogaard & Mick Moore

This briefing explores the Covid-19 pandemic, which has raised twin challenges for public revenue around the world. Governments have undertaken huge expenses to finance medical responses and social protection programmes. At the same time, tax collection is decreasing as a consequence of both pandemic-related tax breaks and a dip in economic activity and trade. These…

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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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Are Women More Tax Compliant than Men? How Would We Know?

by Jalia Kangave, Ronald Waiswa & Nathan Sebaggala

Most research on tax compliance, including research on gender differences in compliance, is based on one of two problematic sources of data. One is surveys enquiring about attitudes and beliefs about taxpaying, or actual taxpaying behaviour. The other is experiments in which people who may or may not have experience of paying different types of…

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Using administrative data to assess the impact of the pandemic in low-income countries: An application with VAT data in Rwanda

by Giulia Mascagni & Adrienne Lees

This paper uses administrative data from Value Added Tax (VAT) returns to provide insights on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Rwanda. We show that the lockdown in Rwanda had a severe impact on the domestic economy, despite relatively low case numbers. However, the economy quickly rebounded after restrictions were lifted, with overall sales…

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March 2021

Profit Shifting of Multinational Corporations Worldwide

by Javier Garcia-Bernardo & Petr Janský

Multinational corporations (MNCs) avoid taxes by shifting their profits from countries where real activity takes place towards tax havens, depriving governments worldwide of billions of tax revenue. Earlier research investigating the scale and distribution of profit shifting has faced methodological and data challenges, both of which we address. First, we propose a logarithmic function 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 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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January 2021

The VAT in Practice: Equity, Enforcement and Complexity

by Giulia Mascagni, Roel Dom & Fabrizio Santoro

The value added tax (VAT) is supposed to be a tax on consumption that achieves greater economic efficiency than alternative indirect taxes. It is also meant to facilitate enforcement through the ‘self-enforcing mechanism’ – based on opposed incentives for buyers and sellers, and because of the paper trail it creates. Being a rather sophisticated tax,…

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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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December 2020

Simulating the Impact of COVID-19 on Formal Firms in South Africa

by Adrienne Lees, Giulia Mascagni & Michael Kilumelume

This note uses administrative tax data for formal firms to measure the direct impact of lockdown restrictions on firms’ profitability, employment, and exit rates. The authors separate the economy into three categories, according to the size of the shock experienced, and consider two lockdown scenarios: one lasting three months and one lasting five months. These…

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