ICTD Working Paper 56

This paper is the first in a series of three studies looking at tax compliance using administrative data from Rwanda. It discusses the use of administrative data for tax research – specifically anonymised taxpayers records, which have become increasingly available on the African continent. The paper starts by critically summarising the key advantages and disadvantages of using this data for tax research in Africa. It proceeds to illustrate these opportunities and challenges in practice, using the case of Rwanda for application of the data to analyse tax compliance and progressivity. By doing this it shows some stylised facts – for example that tax systems designed to be progressive can still be regressive in practice, that a great share of tax revenue is generated by a few very large taxpayers, and that some taxpayers face a negligible probability of being audited. Although these results are specific to Rwanda, they are in line with the situation in other low-income countries in Africa.


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.

Nara Monkam

Nara is the Director of Research at the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) since February 1, 2014. She is also a member of the Davis Tax Committee, appointed in July 2013 by the Minister of Finance to reassess the South African tax system. Prior to joining the ATAF, she was the Deputy Director of the African Tax Institute (ATI) and a Senior Lecturer (2009-2014) in the Department of Economics at the University of Pretoria.

Christopher Nell

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