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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This is the front cover of ICTD Working Paper 82, Can ICTs Increase Tax? Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia

Can ICTs Increase Tax? Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia

ICTD Working Paper 82 (2018)

The widespread introduction of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digitalised data management systems is one of the most important developments among African tax administrations in recent years. However, very little evidence is available on their effectiveness in practice, and how taxpayers respond to these changes. This paper starts filling this gap by reporting three sets of results from Ethiopia. More details

This is the cover to the book: Taxing Africa Coercion, Reform and Development.

Taxing Africa: Coercion, Reform and Development

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. More details

Tax reform for low income countries

Tax Reform for Low Income Countries: Five Ideas for Simplifying Tax Systems to Fit Local Realities

ICTD Research in Brief 17 (2018)

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’ that can help identify potentially underexplored and underexploited opportunities for reform. More details

(Norms, networks, power, and control)

Norms, Networks, Power, and Control: Understanding Informal Payments and Brokerage in Crossborder Trade in Sierra Leone

ICTD Research in Brief 20 (2018)

This ICTD Research in Brief is a two-page summary of ICTD Working Paper 74 by Vanessa van den Boogaard, Wilson Prichard and Samuel Jibao. This series is aimed at policy makers, tax administrators, fellow researchers and anyone else who is big on interest and short on time. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Research in Brief 19, Integrating Tax Challenges of Local Market Traders in International Tax Justice Campaigns

Integrating Tax Challenges of Local Market Traders in International Tax Justice Campaigns

ICTD Research in Brief 19 (2018)

This research in brief is a summary of ICTD Working Paper 80 by Kas Sempere : In the broad sense, ‘tax justice’ explores pro-poor and redistributive tax systems able to reduce inequality. It involves a transparent process of pro-poor collection (those who have less, pay less) and pro-poor expenditure (those who have less, receive more), for instance, through public services. Tax justice has become a popular concept at the international and national levels. For instance, reports and campaigns have exposed the unfairness of tax havens and harmful tax breaks. Yet, the idea of tax justice at the local level is less known and more needs to be done to unpack it. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Working Paper 81, Revenue Sharing in Mining in Africa : Empirical Proxies and Determinants of Government Take

Revenue Sharing in Mining in Africa: Empirical Proxies and Determinants of Government Take

ICTD Working Paper 81 (2018)

Revenues from mining constitute a significant development opportunity, particularly in income-poor but resource-rich countries in Africa. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the extent to which such countries have benefitted from the recent global mineral boom from 2003-2013. This paper finds existing approaches to testing rent theory to be a complicated basis for the assessment of resource revenue sharing between government and companies. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Working Paper 80, Tax Unrest Among Market Traders : The Local Side of ActionAid´s International Tax Justice Campaign in Nigeria

Tax Unrest Among Market Traders : The Local Side of ActionAid´s International Tax Justice Campaign in Nigeria

ICTD Working Paper 80 (2018)

Tax justice has become a popular concept, and a number of international tax justice campaigns have exposed aspects such as the unfairness of tax havens and harmful tax breaks. Yet, the idea of tax justice at the local level is less well-known. The impact of campaigns to end tax havens and harmful tax competition may seem far from the lives and day-to-day tax struggles of many people living in poverty, including market traders in the informal sector. ActionAid, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO), managed, not without challenges, to integrate tax claims of market traders – such as multiple taxation – into its international tax justice campaign in Nigeria. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 78, Regulatory Burdens in Tax Administration and Firms’ Compliance Costs in Africa

Regulatory Burdens in Tax Administration and Firms’ Compliance Costs in Africa

ICTD Working Paper 78 (2018)

This paper examines the effect of regulatory burdens related to tax administration on firms’ compliance costs in Africa. Using cross-country firm-level data, the results show that regulatory burdens related to tax administration significantly increase firms’ compliance costs compared to burdens related to other kinds of government regulations. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 79, What Explains the Recent Calls for Reinstatement of a Tax Considered Unpopular? An Analysis of Graduated Tax in Uganda

What Explains the Recent Calls for Reinstatement of a Tax Considered Unpopular? An Analysis of Graduated Tax in Uganda

ICTD Working Paper 79 (2018)

Successful decentralisation relies heavily on the ability of subnational government to generate its own revenue. In many African countries, subnational government is authorised to collect a variety of taxes and user fees including trade licensing taxes, property taxes, market fees, garbage collection fees and road user fees. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Summary Brief 15, Linking Beneficial Ownership Transparency to Improved Tax Revenue Collection in Developing Countries

Linking Beneficial Ownership Transparency to Improved Tax Revenue Collection in Developing Countries

ICTD Summary Brief 15 (2018)

Recent years have witnessed an accelerating push to expand access to information on the beneficial ownership of corporate entities, in an effort to bring greater transparency to multinational corporation (MNC) tax strategies, identify personal tax-evading wealth held overseas and combat global networks of criminality and corruption. This effort remains in its infancy, but has made important strides: the G20 has called for all countries to develop and share registers of beneficial ownership, and various jurisdictions have begun to do so. More details

This is the front cover for Working Paper 79, What Explains the Recent Calls for Reinstatement of a Tax Considered Unpopular? An Analysis of Graduated Tax in Uganda

What Explains the Recent Calls for Reinstatement of a Tax Considered Unpopular? An Analysis of Graduated Tax in Uganda

ICTD Working Paper 79 (2018)

Successful decentralisation relies heavily on the ability of subnational government to generate its own revenue. In many African countries, subnational government is authorised to collect a variety of taxes and user fees including trade licensing taxes, property taxes, market fees, garbage collection fees and road user fees. With the exception of property taxes, which have the potential to generate significant revenue, most other taxes collectively fund a very small proportion of subnational government budgets. Until recently, one of the main sources of own revenue for subnational government in Uganda was a poll tax known as graduated tax. More details

This is the cover of the ICTD UNU Wider Publication titled Tax Revenue Mobilization in Conflict affected Developing Countries by Vanessa van den Boogaard, Wilson Prichard, Matthew S. Benson and Nikola Milicic.

Tax Revenue Mobilization in Conflict affected Developing Countries

Journal of International Development (2018)

How does conflict affect tax revenue mobilization? This paper uses a newly updated dataset to explore longitudinal trends of tax revenue mobilization prior to, during and after conflict periods in a selection of conflict affected states since 1980. This medium N trend analysis provides greater insight into the relationship between tax revenue performance over time and the characteristics of the conflicts in question. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Research in Brief 17, Subnational Value Added Tax in Ethiopia and Implications for States’ Fiscal Capacity

Subnational Value Added Tax in Ethiopia and Implications for States’ Fiscal Capacity: Research in Brief

ICTD Research in Brief 17 (2018)

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 and regional governments. More details

This is the cover of ICTD Working Paper 75 titled Subnational Value Added Tax in Ethiopia and Implications for States’ Fiscal Capacity by Wollela Abehodie Yesegat and Richard Krever.

Subnational Value Added Tax in Ethiopia and Implications for States’ Fiscal Capacity

ICTD Working Paper 75 (2018)

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). More details

This is the cover of ICTD Working Paper 76, titled Forest Taxation and REDD+: An Analysis of Potential Impacts in Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone by Stephen Spratt et al.

Forest Taxation and REDD+: An Analysis of Potential Impacts in Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone

ICTD Working Paper 76 (2018)

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. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Research in Brief 18, Semi-Autonomous Revenue Authorities in sub-Saharan Africa: Silver Bullet or White Elephant?

Semi-Autonomous Revenue Authorities in sub-Saharan Africa: Silver Bullet or White Elephant? Research in Brief

ICTD Research in Brief 18 (2018)

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. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Summary Brief 14, Taxing High Net Worth Individuals: Lessons from the Uganda Revenue Authority’s Experience

Taxing High Net Worth Individuals: Lessons from the Uganda Revenue Authority’s Experience

ICTD Summary Brief 14 (2018)

Low-income countries have, on average, reduced their reliance on foreign aid inthe past two decades. This has been achieved in part by collaborating with high-income countries and donor agencies to strengthen the capacity of tax authorities to collect revenue. While significant progress has been made, various revenue sources remain untapped. Many low-income countries continue to rely heavily on indirect taxes, such as Value Added Tax, and customs and excise duties. Income taxes contribute a very small percentage to total tax revenue, and are paid mainly by people in formal employment and large companies. More details

Wp506_FrontCover

How Do We Research Tax Morale at the Subnational Level?

IDS Working Paper 506 (2018)

One of the most effective ways of increasing voluntary tax compliance is by improving tax morale. Several studies have been undertaken to examine why some individuals pay taxes while others do not. While many of these studies have been conducted at the national level, there is an increasing body of research at the subnational level. More details

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