To reduce physical contact, Covid-19 forced many tax authorities to embrace digital technologies for filing and payment. Pandemic control aside, e-filing and e-payment hold great promise in facilitating taxpayer compliance, increasing transparency and curbing opportunity for collusion (Okunogbe and Santoro 2021). Eswatini mandated e-filing for all income taxpayers in September 2020, through the online e-Tax platform. Subsequently, the tax administration launched a zero-cash-handling policy for tax payments in April 2021. Our paper evaluated the impact of the e-Tax mandate on income taxpayers’ filing and payment behaviour, examining the following questions: (i) What is the impact of mandating e-filing on filing and payment compliance? (ii) Are there any spillover effects on filing and payment accuracy? (iii) What are the key mechanisms that explain the results? Summary of Working Paper 140 by Fabrizio Santoro, Razan Amine and Tanele Magong.
Fabrizio is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, and the Research Lead for the second component of the ICTD's DIGITAX Research Programme. His main research interests relate to governance, public finance, and taxation, with a strong focus on impact evaluation methodologies and statistical analysis. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex.
Razan Amine is a Research Consultant, working as part of the DIGITAX programme. Her research interests include economic development, taxation, and public finance in developing countries. She is also a research manager at the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab South Asia (J-PAL SA) managing a range of projects in India. As well as this she engages in research at the University of Oxford, where she recently completed her MSc in Economics for Development and was awarded a scholarship from the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies. Prior to this, she completed her first master’s degree as a Fulbright Scholar at John Hopkins University SAIS in Washington DC and worked on a range of projects on taxation at the economics department at John Hopkins University. Amine's work with the ICTD does not reflect the work or opinions of J-PAL.
Citation: Amine, R. and Santoro, F. (2022) Mandating Digital Tax Tools as a Response to Covid: Evidence from Eswatini, ICTD Research in Brief 83, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/ICTD.2023.007