ICTD Blogs

Commentary and discussion about taxation and development from international experts.

Estimating tax avoidance: New findings, new questions

There are now a range of estimates of the global scale of tax avoidance. These include: the $600 billion annual tax loss estimated by IMF researchers Crivelli et al. (2015; 2016), which divides roughly into $400 billion of OECD losses and...
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New Book Examines Alternative Approach to Taxing Multinational Companies

International tax rules for multinational companies appear to be approaching a major crossroads, for three reasons. First, the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) process is increasingly seen as unlikely to deliver on the ambition of its one stated...
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The IMF Finally Speaks on Tobacco Taxes

Last November, I got a birthday gift from the International Monetary Fund: my very own copy of “How to Design and Enforce Tobacco Excises?” I don’t blame you for missing it—it came out 5 days before the US election. I...
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Reducing Incentives for Fiscal Indiscipline at Nigeria’s Subnational Government Level

The need to achieve fiscal convergence and consolidation in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised. This is especially important considering that the economy recently slipped into recession, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. One notable factor for this is the...
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Improving Natural Resource Taxation in Developing Countries

Policy-makers in developing countries, when choosing a mix of fiscal instruments to govern a mining or oil-and-gas development, often face a dilemma. It’s a tug-of-war between tradition, as represented by a preference for royalties that are based on the gross...
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Improving International Tax Dispute Settlement

What are international tax disputes? Formally, international tax disputes are between the tax authorities of two different countries. They result from differing interpretations of the provisions of a tax treaty between the two countries. However, they mainly affect taxpayers with cross-border...
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Make informal businesses profitable, then seek taxes

Last week I participated in a panel discussion at the KRA Tax Summit on tax policy and economic development. Current fiscal policy is defined by a widening gap between expenditure and revenue generation putting a spotlight on the country’s tax regime...
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How to fix Nigeria? Seven Key Issues

A secure nation On a visit to Kigali, a lady extolled their army and why they have the respect of every citizen. Like every typical African, she could not reconcile how the world famous Nigerian military cannot take down Boko Haram....
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How One African City Is Flipping the Script on Urban Development

From Wall Street to the World Bank, people are looking at Kampala as a model for how cities can finance their futures. This piece first appeared on Next City.  Joseph Aliguma is perched on the bull bars of a minibus, listing...
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Give and you shall receive? Taxation and fiscal contracts in Africa

Last week, the Institute of Development Studies hosted its 50th anniversary conference titled “States, Markets and Society".  As part of the conference, the ICTD hosted a panel on the theme of taxation and fiscal contracts in Africa. The panellists were ICTD’s...
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A home-grown remedy for Sri Lanka’s revenue crisis?

Sri Lankans sometimes like to claim perverse records for their country. You will likely have heard the proud assertion that ‘Sri Lanka has the highest suicide rate in the world’. Fortunately, that is not true. But here is a genuine...
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Why African governments should tax the rich

A great deal of attention has been paid to the obstacles African governments face in effectively taxing the profits of transnational corporations. African governments are frequently urged to widen their tax bases by reducing tax incentives for foreign investors. But...
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The ICTD government revenue dataset: still the best option for researchers

In 2010, the ICTD launched efforts to create the ICTD government revenue dataset (GRD), which is increasingly recognized as the best possible source of cross-country revenue data for researchers. An important motivation was concern about the quality and transparency of...
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Malawi Can’t Afford Evidence-Free Tax Campaigns

Over the past couple of weeks Malawi has become the latest poster child for UK campaigns arguing that changes to the international tax system can deliver outsize returns for development. Specifically, Action Aid is calling on the UK government to renegotiate...
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Five Questions About Property Taxation in Africa: Insights from the ICTD Roundtable

Henry Saka,  Commissioner Domestic Tax at the Uganda Revenue Authority speaks at the Roundtable. Photo by Rhiannon McCluskey   It is widely recognised that property taxation is the most viable, efficient, and progressive means of raising local government revenue, with...
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