Tax and Governance

There is mounting evidence that increased taxation can spur statebuilding and increase government accountability.  This possibility is critical: without strong links between taxation, statebuilding and accountability, expanded taxation may fail to deliver improved outcomes for taxpayers.  However, such links are far from guaranteed, and depend, among other things, on the types of taxes raised, the nature and equity of tax enforcement, the extent of transparency, the existence of forums for popular engagement and the role of civil society in supporting popular demand making.  The current phase of our research on this theme focuses on identifying concrete strategies for strengthening the links between taxation and good governance at both the local and national levels.

Publications:

September 2018
Does Fiscal Decentralization Enhance Citizens’ Access to Public Services and Reduce Poverty? Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire Municipalities in a Conflict Setting
by Tiangboho Sanogo

Fiscal decentralization has been implemented in many countries with an explicit objective of improving public service delivery and reduce poverty. However, its effectiveness in achieving these goals are much debated and the empirical literature has mostly focused on poverty reduction using cross-country analysis. This paper analyses whether, and how, the devolution of revenue raising responsibilities…

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What Explains the Recent Calls for Reinstatement of a Tax Considered Unpopular? An Analysis of Graduated Tax in Uganda
by David.J Bakibinga, Jalia Kangave & Dan Ngabirano

This ICTD Research in Brief is a two-page summary of ICTD Working Paper 79 by David J Bakibinga, Julia Kangave and Dan Ngabirano. This series is aimed at policy makers, tax administrators, fellow researchers and anyone else who is big on interest and short on time. Graduated tax became unpopular for a variety of reasons….

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June 2018
Tax Reform for Low Income Countries: Five Ideas for Simplifying Tax Systems to Fit Local Realities
by Wilson Prichard & Mick Moore

There is no silver bullet to strengthen the tax systems of low-income countries. Dramatic changes in tax systems and tax collection are rare. Successful improvements more often involve a great deal of hard and steady work, and the gradual construction of popular trust and (grudging) support for reform. There remains, however, space for ‘organising ideas’…

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Tax in Development: Towards a Strategic Aid Approach
by Olav Lundstøl

Raising a higher share of the value added in an economy for the public purpose is associated with state building, modern economic growth and development. From 2002-3 to date, low- and lower-middle income countries raised total tax and non-tax revenue from 11-12 per cent and 18-19 per cent of GDP up to 17-18 per cent…

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Taxing Africa: Coercion, Reform and Development
by Mick Moore, Wilson Prichard & Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Taxing Africa is an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the crucial debates around taxation and development in Africa. Taxation has been seen as the domain of charisma-free accountants, lawyers and number crunchers – an unlikely place to encounter big societal questions about democracy, equity or good governance. Yet it is exactly these issues that pervade…

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What is the Role of Taxpayer Education in Africa?
by Giulia Mascagni & Fabrizio Santoro

The ICTD’s African Tax Administration Papers (ATAPs) are research papers that will be of specific interest to people working in tax administration in Africa. This paper, the first in the new ATAP series, reviews existing initiatives on taxpayer education in Africa, an area that has been largely under-researched in the literature. We start by providing…

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March 2018
Forest Taxation and REDD+: An Analysis of Potential Impacts in Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone
by Stephen Spratt, Philip Kargbo, Emmanuel Marfo, Emmanuel Ngungoh & Sabaheta Ramcilovik-Suominen

This research explores the impacts that REDD+ could have on forest tax systems in three countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and considers how policy could be designed to increase the chances that these impacts are positive. To assess this, a methodological framework is identified and adapted. The framework has been used to explore how the implementation…

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March 2018
Subnational Value Added Tax in Ethiopia and Implications for States’ Fiscal Capacity
by Wollela Abehodie Yesegat & Richard Krever

In most federal systems, state governments are funded through a combination of direct fiscal transfers from the central government, and the revenue they collect directly from locally adopted taxes. Ethiopia is a federal polity, but follows a slightly different path in the case of its most important tax source – value added tax (VAT). As…

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Semi-Autonomous Revenue Authorities in sub-Saharan Africa: Silver Bullet or White Elephant?
by Roel Dom

A major component of tax administration reform in sub-Saharan Africa over the last thirty years has been the creation of semi-autonomous revenue authorities (SARAs). These operate at arm’s length from the ministry of finance, which is different to conventional tax administrations. They have an independent legal status, and usually integrate both customs and tax functions….

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Subnational Value Added Tax in Ethiopia and Implications for States’ Fiscal Capacity
by Wollela Abehodie Yesegat & Richard Krever

Fiscal federalism comprises the distribution of functions and tax revenue sources between central and regional governments. Fiscal federalism issues in respect of value added tax (VAT) do not arise in unitary states; in federal states questions arise as to which level of government should levy the tax, and how revenue should be divided between central…

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Blogs:

December 2018
by Mick Moore, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad & Wilson Prichard

Over the past decade, international attention has increasingly focused on the potential contribution of taxation to improved development outcomes. In our recent book, Taxing Africa: Coercion, Reform and Development, we offer an overview of these issues and challenges in Africa.  A major objective of the book is to highlight major political questions about taxation in Africa,…

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August 2018
by Kas Sempere

What does tax justice mean at the local level, and how can the experiences of informal market traders be linked with broader international campaigns? This blog draws out insights from ActionAid’s experience of incorporating the demands of market traders in Nigeria into its international tax justice campaign.

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July 2018
by Mick Moore & Wilson Prichard

Nancy Lee from the Centre for Global Development (CGD) recently published a piece arguing for a “surge in support” for domestic revenue mobilisation in low income countries and a major shift in how donor support for domestic revenue mobilisation is organised. It is an intriguing proposal, but one which is also likely to face very…

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