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Micro-Links between Taxation and Accountability Initiatives

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Presentation by Vanessa van den Boogaard at the 7th annual ICTD meeting in Kigali on February 5th 2019.

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Micro-Links between Taxation and Accountability Initiatives

  1. 1. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Wilson Prichard, Rachel Beach, Vanessa van den Boogaard, and Fariya Mohiuddin The micro-links between taxation and accountability initiatives 5 February 2019
  2. 2. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Tax and accountability
  3. 3. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Tax, responsiveness, and accountability  Responsiveness:  the extent to which governments deliver the choices desired by taxpayers  Accountability:  the extent to which governments are answerable to taxpayers and face sanctions for poor performance
  4. 4. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Research strategy What strategies can be adopted to strengthen the links between taxation, responsiveness, and accountability?
  5. 5. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Research strategy What strategies can be adopted to strengthen the links between taxation, responsiveness, and accountability? 1. The role of changes to tax policy 1. The efficacy of efforts to enhance transparency 1. The efficacy of attempts to spur popular engagement
  6. 6. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Research strategy: Case studies  Sierra Leone  East: Kailahun / Kono  North: Koinadugu/ Bombali  South: Moyamba/ Bo  West: Western Area Rural/ Western Area Urban  Ghana  Western: Sekondi/ Takoradi/ Tarkwa Nsuaem  Northern: Savelugu-Nanton/ Sagnerigu  Greater Accra: La-Nkawntang Madina/ Ledzokuku-Krowor
  7. 7. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Research strategy: Data  Taxpayer surveys  Focus group discussions  In-depth interviews
  8. 8. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac I. Policy reform
  9. 9. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Visibility and political salience Visibility of tax  Do taxpayers know that they are paying the tax?
  10. 10. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Visibility and political salience Visibility of tax  Do taxpayers know that they are paying the tax? Political salience of tax  Do taxpayers know that they are paying the tax?  Do taxpayers recognize the tax as a politically important issue?  Do taxpayers have the potential to mobilize in response to the tax?
  11. 11. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac What affects the visibility and political salience of a tax?  Type of tax  Nature and equity of administration  Links to citizenship/ economic/ political rights  Nature of political discourse  Role of intermediaries in drawing attention to tax debates
  12. 12. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac II. Enhancing transparency
  13. 13. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Tax transparency 0% 50% 100% More information about tax rules/ obligations A fairer distribution of the tax burden More opportunities for participation in decision making Less corruption by tax collectors Less corruption by politicians More information about how revenues are spent Improved public goods and services What, if anything, would make you more willing to pay taxes to the central government? Ghana 0% 50% 100% Central government Local government Ward development council How easy is it to find out how groups spend public/community funds? Sierra Leone Easy Neither easy nor difficult Difficult
  14. 14. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Tax transparency in practice
  15. 15. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Moving towards meaningful transparency
  16. 16. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac (1) What types of information are most useful?  Timely  Accessible  Specific  E.g. Rates of payment  E.g. Payment due dates  Linked to expenditures
  17. 17. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac (2) How can information best reach citizens? 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Phone SMS Religious institution Whatsapp groups Posting information at the local… Sensitization (presentation) Social media Community association Sensitization (door-to-door) State-run media Community meeting TV news Radio Most effective way for citizens to communicate with government Most effective way for government to share information Ghana 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Sierra Leone
  18. 18. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac III. Strengthening engagement
  19. 19. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Taxpayer engagement 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% No one Local government official Town/ area/ zonal/ ward committee member Central government official Paramount chief Town, village, sub chief Village headman/ woman MP Of your own initiative, who, if anyone, have you spoken with? Sierra Leone Ghana Have you ever engaged with the government on a tax- related matter? Sierra Leone Yes, spoke on radio Yes, contacted my politician Yes, worked with NGO/ CSO that engaged with government No, never protested or engaged with government on any tax-ralted issue
  20. 20. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac (1) What kinds of forums for engagement are most effective? Safe, secure, and sincere:  Accessible  Tailored  Responsive  Inclusive of credible taxpayer allies  Anonymous, where appropriate
  21. 21. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac (2) What roles can civil society play?  Civil society as translator  Making data accessible and meaningful  Communicating information to local communities  Civil society as enabler  Supporting engagement in public forums  Civil society as trainer  Giving taxpayers/ community leaders skills to make sense of revenue and spending issues
  22. 22. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Challenges and opportunities
  23. 23. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Challenges  Funding constraints  Political resistance  Managing expectations
  24. 24. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Opportunities Donors, civil society, and government may play a role to ensure:  Information is adapted to local contexts and citizen priorities  Information is accessible and communicated through interactive platforms with a broad popular reach  Forums for engagement are safe, secure, and sincerely open spaces for dialogue
  25. 25. International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac International Centre for Tax and Development www.ictd.ac Vanessa van den Boogaard ICTD Researcher v.vandenboogaard@utoronto.ca @vvandenboogaard

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