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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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

IDS publications on international development research

Using Internal and External Sources of Information to Reduce Customs Evasion

ICTD Workign Paper 62 (2018)

This paper aims to identify some factors that reduce evasion of customs duties in developing countries. Following the recent literature on customs evasion, we proxy customs fraud by discrepancies in bilateral trade statistics. Estimates first show that the more frequently a product is imported, the more customs fraud reduces. We argue that this result is indicative of the fact that customs officers use what they have learned from similar import declarations - use customs' internal information - to better assess the compliance of declarations. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transfer Pricing in Argentina 1932-2015

ICTD Working Paper 63 (2018)

This document provides a review of the Argentine tax authority’s structure for dealing with transfer pricing in Argentina; a chronological review of the legislative transfer pricing framework; and a very extensive listing of the transfer pricing cases that have reached different court levels. The document also summarises some of the difficulties encountered in relation to the application of the arm’s length principle in Argentina; coordination with foreign tax authorities; and the regulatory changes expected following the reports resulting from the G20/OECD BEPS Action Plan. More details

This is the front cover of ICTD Working Paper 70, How Can Governments of Low-Income Countries Collect More Tax Revenue?

How Can Governments of Low-Income Countries Collect More Tax Revenue?

ICTD Working Paper 70 (2017)

It is widely believed that the governments of many low-income countries, and especially the relatively poor performers, should be aiming to increase the proportion of GDP they raise in tax revenue. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Improving the Performance of Natural Resource Taxation in Developing Countries

ICTD Working Paper 60 (2017)

This paper explores the administrative challenges posed to developing countries as a result of the increasing emphasis in fiscal regimes for natural resource extraction since the Second World War on income-based taxes, including both corporate income and resource rent taxes, as opposed to royalties. The paper identifies both the political consequences and technical challenges (particularly in the area of enforcement of arm’s length pricing in the natural resource context). More details

IDS publications on international development research

Assisting Developing Countries in Taxation after the OECD’s BEPS Reports: A Suggested Approach for the Donor Community

ICTD Working Paper 71 (2017)

This paper explores how the international donor community might most productively offer technical assistance to developing countries in the area of taxation, in light of the OECD’s recently completed study of ‘base erosion and profit shifting’ (BEPS). The paper addresses both the political and the technical constraints facing developing country tax administrations. More details

IDS publications on international development research

International Tax Disputes: Between Supranational Administration and Adjudication

ICTD Working Paper 55 (2017)

The proposals resulting from the G20/Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) project on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) include a drive for mandatory binding arbitration of international tax disputes, strongly supported by business. This issue should be considered in the context of the reasons for and nature of international tax disputes. The bulk of such conflicts concern ‘economic’ double taxation, resulting from divergent interpretations by different tax authorities of the standards for attributing profits to affiliates within a corporate group, so that the firm as a whole may be taxed on more than 100 per cent of its worldwide profit. More details

IDS publications on international development research

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. Recently the RRA has undertaken aggressive tax education and sensitisation campaigns in order to influence taxpayer behaviour tow 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

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

IDS publications on international development 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

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

IDS publications on international development research

Africa’s First Large-Scale Tax Experiment: Researching Compliance in Rwanda

Administrative data is incredibly valuable for research on taxation for several reasons. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Carrot and the Stick: Evidence on Voluntary Tax Compliance from a Pilot Field Experiment in Rwanda

ICTD Working Paper 57 (2016)

This paper reports the results of a pilot experiment in Rwanda designed to encourage voluntary tax compliance by providing information on sanctions. More details

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