Working Paper 128

Over the last 40 years there has been an increased focus on the role that tax agents play in ensuring or deterring compliance with tax obligations. While the literature on their role is not extensive, a variety of different topics have been explored. Some consistent evidence has emerged indicating when agents improve (or decrease) compliance, as well as the key drivers of their use by taxpayers.

However, virtually all existing studies have focused on high or upper-middle-income countries. Given that the tax systems of low-income countries present a unique set of compliance issues, a more in-depth analysis of the role that tax agents might play in these contexts is warranted. In this paper, we provide an extensive review of existing literature on tax agents, and present some preliminary evidence from two surveys on their use in Uganda.

Our results show that tax agents seem to contribute to an improvement in the quality of filed returns and to lower audit adjustments, hence supporting improved compliance. The type of services more frequently requested by taxpayers seem to match those in high-income countries, as do their reasons for engaging tax agents in the first place.


Giovanni Occhiali

Dr Giovanni Occhiali is a Development Economist based at the Institute of Development Studies, where he works on a number of projects related to Tax Administration and Compliance, Tax and Governance and co-leads ICTD’s capacity building programme together with Dr Max Gallien. His research focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, and outside of the field of taxation his main interests are energy economics and industrial policies. He holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham and prior to joining ICTD, he was a Researcher at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and an Overseas Development Institute Fellow at the National Revenue Authority of Sierra Leone.

Fredrick Kalyango

Fredrick Kalyango is a tax practitioner with over 15 years of experience in tax administration. He is currently working as an Ag. Manager of Quality Assurance in the Domestic Taxes Department, Business Policy Division of the Uganda Revenue Authority. He is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU).
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