Past Event

Taxation and Transparency Short Course (Scholarships are available)

From 08 Aug 2017 9:00 until 11 Aug 2017 17:00

The Institute of Development Studies
at the University of Sussex

There is now very substantial and growing interest in tax transparency as an important element of policymaking in developing countries. Greater transparency is believed to be an important component – or even a prerequisite – for more effective tax systems. However, there are many underdeveloped and conflicting meanings of transparency and how it affects different aspects of taxation.

This short course focuses on major dimensions of transparency in taxation and raises questions about the meanings and implications of transparency. It will address questions such as: what does transparency mean in practice? What kinds of information are most useful for transparency? What is the role of different actors in promoting tax transparency?

Topics and main issues covered

Introduction to taxation and transparency

  • What are the existing debates on taxation and transparency?
  • What does transparency mean in practice?
  • What kind of information is most useful for transparency?

Understanding base erosion and profit shifting as a consequence of lack of transparency

  • An examination of how governments and multi-national corporations have tacitly cooperated in making BEPS structures possible and examination of the pressures of tax competition that have led to this phenomenon
  • How the lack of visibility has contributed to the growth of BEPS transactions over the decades
  • The role of country-by-country reporting including its historic development, controversies and criticisms
  • The OECD standard on country-by-country reporting in relation to the wider debate
  • The emerging public database on country-by-country reporting and the tools being developed to help various users to take advantage of the new transparency
  • Whether OECD’s proposals (particularly with respect to the measurement of BEPS in the future) might succeed in mitigating the lack of transparency
  • Consideration of whether alternative models of corporate taxation, like the Destination-Based Cash Flow Tax, might affect the nexus between tax transparency and policymaking

Transparency and Natural Resource Extraction

  • The role of transparency in the negotiation and administration of fiscal deals between developing countries and extractive companies
  • A review of some of the efforts by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to promote greater transparency in dealings between governments and extractive companies
  • Other initiatives that promise to increase transparency for future progress

Transparency and Tax Treaties

  • The use of tax treaties as the building blocks of the international tax regime
  • The processes of treaty negotiation and ratification
  • Analysing mutual agreement procedures and tax treaty arbitration
  • Exchange of information provisions of tax treaties (versus other international agreements)

Country practices relating to the coding and analysis of tax return data

  • An analysis of how revenue authorities collect and maintain their taxpayer databases
  • Difficulties experienced by revenue authorities in monitoring and managing data
  • Measures that might be effective in remedying current difficulties
  • The usefulness of tools such as the Tax Administration Diagnostic and Assessment Tool (TADAT)

Critically analysing the burden of taxation

  • An analysis of corporate tax rates in Ethiopia and their impact on small, medium and large firms
  • The burden of taxes on poor people: A case study of Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • The Institute of Fiscal Studies’ tax and benefit model: How do we examine the impact of fiscal changes?: A UK case study

Who is the course for?

The course targets a broad, interdisciplinary group of participants who are involved in tax issues. Participants are envisaged to include individuals from international aid organisations, government agencies, civil society organisations, revenue authorities, academia and private foundations. The course is also relevant for tax practitioners and researchers who are interested in identifying transparency concerns relating to tax systems.

Course Level and Entry Requirements

The course will be taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, participants should be proficient in English and able to take an active part in course discussions. Your English needs to be of an intermediate standard or higher (or an IELTS score of 6 or above).

Teaching Staff

The facilitators for the course are internationally recognised experts in taxation with a mix of excellent research and teaching records as well as extended practical experience in developing countries. The confirmed facilitators are:

  • Mike Durst (ICTD and tax attorney)
  • Mick Moore (IDS/ICTD)
  • Alex Cobham (Tax Justice Network)
  • Giulia Mascagni (IDS/ICTD)
  • Martin Hearson (London School of Economics)
  • Denis Mukama (Rwanda Revenue Authority)
  • Vanessa van den Boogaard (ICTD/University of Toronto)
  • Waziona Ligomeka (IDS/former Principal Economist in Malawi’s Ministry of Finance).

Application procedure

Please note that the official deadline for applications is 19th June 2017. 

Applications for this course are now closed. 

All applicants should read the Terms and Conditions before applying. The application procedure is a 3-stage process:

Stage 1: Deadline for applications is Monday 19th June 2017.

Stage 2: Applicants will receive the outcome of the review process the week commencing 19th June 2017. Successful applicants will receive details of how to pay the course fees and a Stage 2 application form. Places on the course are not guaranteed until fees have been received and the Stage 2 application form has been completed.

Stage 3: Once fees have been received, applicants will receive confirmation of a place on the course and a letter to support their visa application (if required).


£900 – this fee includes tuition fees, course materials, lunches, refreshments and one group dinner.

It does not cover accommodation, insurance or travel costs.

Please email us at [email protected] if you have any queries.

IDS are able to offer scholarship places on this course; these will be available on a competitive basis.

IDS is accredited by the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education as a Short Course Provider.

Key contacts


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