U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

What evidence is available regarding corruption in African tax administrations and what are the approaches and efforts undertaken (by tax administrators themselves and / or accountability actors) to combat this problem?

Content

1.          Corruption in tax administration in Africa

2.          Approaches to curbing corruption in tax administration in Africa

3.          References

Summary

Corruption in tax administration in Africa remains a fundamental barrier to effective and fair taxation and to building trust between government and citizens. There are very few recent studies assessing the extent to which and how corruption affects tax administration in Africa, but surveys on citizen experience and perceptions of corruption within tax administration paint a worrying picture, with more than 50% of respondents who were in contact with tax administrations having reported experiencing corruption when dealing with tax and custom officials in several African countries. Studies and anecdotal examples also demonstrate that corruption in tax administration takes different forms, from bribery to patronage, to revolving doors and regulatory capture.

Approaches to fighting corruption in tax administration undertaken by governments in Africa often aim at addressing the main drivers of corruption. They include measures to enhance the autonomy and capacity of tax agencies, for example through the establishment of semi-autonomous tax agencies, higher salaries, measures to improve tax services and reduce tax-payers interactions with tax officials, by for instance investing in technology and tax-payer education, as well as measures to improve internal control and oversight and encourage informants to report corruption.  

Authors

Maíra Martini, Transparency International, mmartini@transparency.org

Date

30/06/2014

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