Research in Brief 82

As digital technologies continue gaining momentum in Africa and lower-income countries, more and more tax authorities are adopting them to improve their core functions and collect revenue more efficiently. This paper reviews recent literature on using technology for tax administration. Technology has the potential to improve tax collection in three areas: identifying the tax base, monitoring compliance, and facilitating compliance. But even the most user-friendly technology will hardly function without basic infrastructure and a stable internet connection. The potential benefits of new technology are further hampered by resistance from taxpayers and collectors, an unsupportive regulatory environment and lack of strategy for adoption by institutions. We close by proposing reforms to ensure investments in new technology improve efficiency and revenue collection.

This Research in Brief is a summary of ICTD Working Paper 135 by Oyebola Okunogbe and Fabrizio Santoro.

Authors

Celeste Scarpini

Celeste Scarpini is a Research Officer at the ICTD. Her research interest are labour market policies, taxation, and instruments of social insurance, social assistance, and financial inclusion in developing countries.

Oyebola Okunogbe

Oyebola Okunogbe is an Economist in the Human Development team of the World Bank Development Research Group. Her research interests are in governance and political economy, including policies on public finance, nation building, education, employment and gender.

Fabrizio Santoro

Fabrizio is a Research 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.
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