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Tax policy and administration

Tax administration is conventionally separated from tax policy although in practice the two are closely linked. Tax policy refers to the choice of tax instruments, the rates at which taxes are set, the nature of exemptions and the assignment of taxes to different levels of government. Tax administration refers to the efficient and effective implementation of tax policy.

This page, which forms part of the Governance Theme section on 'public financial management and accountability', includes a series of key texts that explore this concept.

Key texts

Delay, S., Devas, N. and Hubbard, M. 1999, 'Reforming Revenue Administration: Lessons from Experience,' International Development Department, University if Birmingham, report prepared for DFID.
This study reviews the experience of DFID-funded projects to support revenue administration in Africa against wider international experience to determine lessons for future work in this field.
Full document available online

Department for International Development Evaluation Department 2001, Evaluation of Revenue Projects Synthesis Report, DFID, London.
This report examines the implementation and impact of projects from Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Pakistan to identify lessons learned for the benefit of future programmes. It also aims to identify how revenue-related projects fit into DFIDs portfolio and poverty reduction objectives as set out in the 1997 White Paper.
Full document available online

Gemmell, N. and Morrissey, O. 2002, 'The Poverty Impacts of Revenue Systems in Developing Countries. A Report to the Department for International Development', School of Economics, University of Nottingham, report prepared for DFID.
Few taxes are actually paid by the poor, the tax system does not provide the best instruments to target the poor. These are the two principal beliefs that this DFID report aims to assess by reviewing analytical methods for, and evidence on, the effects of tax reform on the poor. This report states that these beliefs are largely true. However, there are important exceptions. The authors start by reviewing the core features of tax systems in LDCs, then move onto the main features of tax reforms implemented in recent decades.
Full document available online

Tanzi, V. and Zee, H, 2001, 'Tax policy for developing countries', Economic Issues, no. 27. International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C., March.
Vito Tanzi and Howell Zee (World Bank, 2001) outline in this paper the main issues facing policy-makers in the development of tax systems in developing countries. Their approach is based on a practical evaluation of difficulties encountered when applying the revenue procedures of industrialized countries to developing countries. Practical recommendations are made regarding both the macroeconomic (level and composition of tax revenue) and microeconomic (design aspects of specific taxes) elements of tax policy.
Full document available online

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