Authors: Shalizi, Zmarak; Squire, Lyn
Publication date: February 1996
This report argues that ad hoc revenue increasing measures in the past have paid insufficient attention to the incentive effects of taxes and that tax reform is warranted where the role of the price mechanism in allocating resources is being enhanced. The paper focuses on the analysis of commodity and income taxes. It identifies a series of tax reform measures which rationalize and simplify the tax regime and are likely to be administratively feasible in sub - Saharan Africa. The central message on commodity taxation is that domestic consumption taxes are a preferred mechanism for generating revenues and that embryonic versions of such taxes are already in existence in many African countries. The central message on income taxes is to severely restrict the role of allowances in both personal and company taxes. The report concludes that the identification of a desired long run tax structure helps determine the administrative changes and technical assistance required to improve existing tax regimes. Where comprehensive reforms cannot be implemented, a long term tax reform framework is required against which partial reforms can be evaluated.
Publisher: World Bank