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Greater tax revenue – tax and enforcement policies in Sub-Saharan Africa

The session discusses domestic resource mobilization, tax evasion and informality. The session aims to provide new information on the impacts of tax and enforcement policies adopted by revenue authorities in Sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, the session focuses on how to improve revenue collection and tax enforcement efficiently. Furthermore, the presentations discuss the taxation of small businesses and challenges related to the informal sector. The presentations are based on empirical research using administrative tax data from revenue authorities and national household surveys. Covered methods include impact evaluation approaches and ex-ante evaluation of policies by applying a microsimulation model. The structure of the session is three research presentations, each 20 minutes long including a short Q&A for clarifying questions and a 30 minutes panel discussion at the end of the session.

Three research presentations discuss policy-relevant studies from three Sub-saharan African countries: Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Elineema Kisenga presents how ICT solutions enhance firm tax examinations and lead to greater revenue collection in Tanzania. Yenda Shamabobo presents the impacts of the value-added tax (VAT) withholding system on VAT collection in Zambia. He discusses how the VAT withholding system helps firms to report their sales to the revenue authority through an intermediary agent. Ronald Waiswa and Jesse Lastunen present microsimulation-based research on the presumptive tax regime in Uganda, focusing on the revenue implications of taxing small firms. They discuss the challenges with the existing presumptive tax regime, which were highlighted in interviews with staff at the Uganda Revenue Authority, as well as alternatives for improving the system.

The panel discussion continues to debate the topics presented by researchers and opens the discussion with the audience. The aim of the panel discussion is to expand the discussion to broader questions related to domestic resource mobilization and challenges that revenue authorities face in Sub-Saharan Africa. For example, how to ensure fairness when increasing revenue collection from the informal sector and small businesses? Are improved ICT solutions road to higher revenues? How to redesign complex tax systems and simplify the taxation of small businesses? During the panel discussion, the audience can ask general or detailed questions from the panelists. Maria Jouste is the chair of the session, ensuring lively discussion and providing opening questions.