International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD)

The International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) is a global policy research network, devoted to improving the quality of tax policy and administration in developing countries, with a special focus on sub-Saharan Africa. It is led by Professor Mick Moore and funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Commissioner General, Ethiopian Revenue Authority being interviewed by journalists at the Annual Meeting of the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD). Credit: Rhiannon McCluskey - IDS/ICTD

The ICTD’s primary objective is to provide research evidence that supports developing countries in raising domestic revenues equitably and sustainably, in a manner that is conducive to pro-poor economic growth and good governance. It does this by generating and disseminating research to policymakers and the public in order to broaden public debate on taxation issues in Africa. The ICTD also seeks to build the capacity of revenue authorities and academics in Africa to conduct research on tax issues through research collaboration and training.

Key ICTD research themes

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Image: Former Commissioner General of the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority, Beker Shale, being interviewed by journalists at the ICTD Annual Meeting in 2016. Credit: R.McCluskey - IDS/ICTD

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IDS publications on international development research

How Kenya has Implemented and Adjusted to the Changes in International Transfer Pricing Regulations: 1920-2016

ICTD Working Paper 69 (2017)

A large proportion of international trade in goods and services is conducted between what are known technically as related parties. In practice, most of this trade is between different companies forming part of the same transnational corporate grouping. This is typically highly integrated in economic and financial terms, while legally appearing as a set of separate companies incorporated in a wide More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Research in Brief 15, Informal Taxation in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone: Taxpayers’ Experiences and Perceptions

Informal Taxation in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone: Taxpayers’ Experiences and Perceptions

ICTD Research in Brief 15 (2017)

In low-income and post-conflict countries, and particularly in rural areas, citizens often pay a range of ‘taxes’ that differ substantially from statutory policies. These ‘informal taxes’, paid to a variety of state and non-state actors, are frequently overlooked in analyses of local systems of taxation. This is problematic, as it leads to misunderstandings of individual and household tax burdens, More details

Linking smallholder farmers to markets on extensive and intensive margins: Evidence from Nicaragua - teaser picture

Linking Smallholder Farmers to Markets on Extensive and Intensive Margins: Evidence from Nicaragua

Access to modern commercialization channels is key for smallholder farmers to move away from subsistence farming and overcome poverty. However, achieving that goal is challenging for smallholders given their lack of appropriate managerial practices, production technology and infrastructure. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Summary Brief 12, Central-Local Government Roles and Relationships in Property Taxation

Central-Local Government Roles and Relationships in Property Taxation

ICTD Summary Brief 12 (2017)

Should central or local governments be responsible for collection and administration of property taxes? There is great variation in practice across the continent, but one particularly significant divide is that between francophone and anglophone countries.The former commonly adopt centralised systems, while the latter usually decentralise key aspects of property taxation such as collection and administration. This divide has its roots in different modalities of colonial rule, but was exaggerated through the trend towards decentralised governance that took hold in the 1990s, supported by Anglo-American development assistance. This policy brief explores some of the strengths and weaknesses of decentralised versus centralised approaches, the incentives they create for government authorities to collect the tax, and some of the political challenges of rearranging central-local relations. It suggests that the question of whether to centralise or decentralise the tax as a whole oversimplifies the problem. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Summary Brief 11, Strengthening IT Systems for Property Tax Reform

Strengthening IT Systems for Property Tax Reform

ICTD Summary Brief 11 (2017)

The introduction of improved IT systems has long been hailed as a powerful – potentially transformative – tool for strengthening local property taxes. Yet in practice this promise has rarely been achieved on a sustainable basis in Africa, despite significant investment. The challenge lies in understanding why new IT systems have failed to deliver promised benefits, and in devising more effective systems and strategies moving forward. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Summary Brief 13, Linking Property Tax Revenue and Public Services

Linking Property Tax Revenue and Public Services

ICTD Summary Brief 13 (2017)

In practical terms most property tax reforms are, first and foremost, efforts to increase tax revenue. But the ultimate goal of tax reform is, of course, broader: expanding tax revenue in order to finance the provision of valuable publicly-provided goods and services. Tax reformers are correspondingly faced with a simple question: is the revenue from tax reform actually likely to be translated into publicly-provided goods and services? Perhaps more importantly, could property tax reform programmes be designed explicitly to increase the likelihood that revenue will be translated into valued publicly-provided goods and services? More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 59, Communicating to Improve Compliance: Taxpayers’ Feedback on Message and Mode of Delivery in Rwanda

Communicating to Improve Compliance: Taxpayers’ Feedback on Message and Mode of Delivery in Rwanda

ICTD Working Paper 59 (2017)

The journey from coercion to persuasion to drive tax compliance started gradually for the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA). This is shown in the mission and core value statements that underpin the tax administration’s activities in service delivery and trade facilitation. More details

IDS publications on international development research

From the Lab to the Field: A Review of Tax Experiments

Journal of Economic Surveys (2017)

Tax experiments have been gaining momentum in recent years, although this literature dates back several decades. With new developments in methods and data availability, tax experiments have gradually moved away from lab settings and towards the field. More details

This is the cover of the ICTD/ UNU Wider Working Paper 2017_55 titled Global Distribution of Revenue Loss from Tax Avoidance, Re-estimatino and Country results by Alex Cobham and Petra Jansky.

Global distribution of revenue loss from tax avoidance - Re-estimation and country results

ICTD/ UNU Wider Working Paper 2017_55 (2017)

International corporate tax is an important source of government revenue, especially in lower-income countries. An important recent study of the scale of this problem was carried out by International Monetary Fund researchers Ernesto Crivelli, Ruud De Mooij, and Michael Keen. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Informal Taxation in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone: Taxpayers' Experiences and Perceptions

ICTD Working Paper 66 (2017)

In low-income and post-conflict countries, and particularly in rural areas, citizens often pay a range of 'taxes' that differ substantially from statutory policies. These 'informal taxes', paid to a variety of state and non-state actors, are frequently overlooked in analyses of local systems of taxation. This is problematic as it leads to misunderstandings of individual and household tax burdens, as well as of systems of local governance. More details

This is the front cover to the book, 'Taxing Multinational Enterprises as Unitary Firms'.

Taxing Multinational Enterprises as Unitary Firms

The international tax system needs a paradigm shift. The rules devised over 80 years ago treat the different parts of a multinational enterprise as if they were independent entities, although they also give national tax authorities powers to adjust the accounts of these entities. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Tax and Gender in Developing Countries: What are the Issues?

ICTD Summary Brief 6 (2017)

This brief explains what we have learned about gender and taxation and looks at: why taxation is relevant for gender; where gender is relevant in taxation; bias in tax structures; amongst other themes. More details

ICTD Generic WP cover

The Political Economy of Long-Term Revenue Decline in Sri Lanka

ICTD Working Paper 65 (2017)

From the 1950s to the 1980s, Sri Lankan governments collected a high proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in taxes. They spent most of that money on mass provision of health and education services, and subsidised food. Sri Lanka was a model welfare state, with unusually high human development indicators. Contemporary Sri Lankan governments spend very little on their poor citizens. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Summary Brief 6, Tax and Gender in Developing Countries: What are the Issues?

Tax and Gender in Developing Countries: What are the Issues?

ICTD Summary Brief 6 (2017)

This ICTD Summary Brief is the sixth in our six special research synthesis pieces, produced at the end of the ICTD's first five-year funding period in Spring 2016. This brief explains what we have learned about gender and taxation and looks at: why taxation is relevant for gender; where gender is relevant in taxation; bias in tax structures; amongst other themes. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Summary Brief 8, Partnerships with African Revenue Authorities: Collaborating for Impactful Research

ICTD Partnerships with African Revenue Authorities: Collaborating for Impactful Research

ICTD Summary Brief 8 (2017)

This brief summarises the research projects conducted by the ICTD in partnership with each of the three revenue authorities and concludes with a set of principles for productive partnerships between researchers and practitioners in government agencies. More details

ICTD Generic WP cover

One size does not fit all: A field experiment on the drivers of tax compliance and delivery methods in Rwanda

ICTD Working Paper 58 (2017)

Although field experiments in tax compliance represent a growing area of research, the literature has so far focused exclusively on high and middle-income countries. This paper starts to fill this gap by reporting the results of a tax field experiment in Rwanda, while also highlighting some characteristics that may be common to other low-income countries. More details

This is the cover of the Journal Article titled Structural power in comparative political economy: perspectives from policy formulation in Latin America by Tasha Fairfield.

Structural power in comparative political economy: perspectives from policy formulation in Latin America

Business and Politics (2017)

Structural power is a critical variable that merits more extensive and more explicit attention in Latin American political economy and in comparative politics more broadly. Assessing structural power in conjunction with its counterpart, instrumental power, can provide strong leverage for explaining variation in policy outcomes that affect business interests. However, structural power must be caref More details

Agricultural Economics 48 3 Front Cover

The Influence of Proximity to Market on Bean Producer Prices in Nicaragua

Agricultural Economics 48.4 (2017)

Transport costs are an important determinant of smallholder welfare in developing countries. In particular, transport costs influence the prices that smallholders receive for their produce. We propose a simple way of quantifying this influence. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Linking Taxation and Social Protection: Evidence on Redistribution and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia

ICTD Working Paper 61 (2017)

This paper aims to jointly assess the distributional effect of taxes and transfers, through social protection, using Ethiopia as a case study. More details