Research in Brief 33

African revenue authorities developed a growing interest in tax education as a key driver of compliance and in the context of a modern approach to tax administration (Mascagni and Santoro, 2018). Indeed, poor tax knowledge has a number of potentially serious implications. Firstly, it is likely to affect compliance. On the one hand, uninformed taxpayers may find it hard to navigate complex tax systems and thus may fail to comply. On the other hand, they may be unaware of tax benefits available to them and might end up paying more than they should. Secondly, taxpayers who are confused about their tax rights and obligations are more vulnerable to corruption and may therefore perceive the tax system as unfair. These issues are especially serious in low-income countries, where administrative capacity is weak and both access to and quality of tax information and advice is generally low. While taxpayer education plays a potentially crucial role in tax compliance, rigorous evidence is almost inexistent (Mascagni and Santoro, 2017). We aim to fill a gap in the literature by evaluating the effectiveness of a taxpayer education programme, implemented by the Rwandan Revenue Authority (RRA), on taxpayer knowledge, perceptions and tax compliance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of this type in any low-income country and only the second touching upon this theme in any country. This ICTD Research in Brief is a two-page summary of ICTD Working Paper 91 by Giulia Mascagni, Fabrizio Santoro, and Denis Mukama.

Authors

Giulia Mascagni

Giulia Mascagni is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and Research Director of the ICTD. Her main area of work is taxation, but she also has research interest in public finance, evaluation of public policy, and aid effectiveness. She is an economist by training, holding a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex. Her main geographical interest lies in African countries, with a particular focus on Ethiopia and Rwanda.

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.

Denis Mukama

Denis Mukama is the Assistant Commissioner for Research, Planning and Statistics at the Rwandan Revenue Authority.
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