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Taxation of Professionals in Africa: Are Professional Associations and Regulators an Untapped Resource?

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Presentation by Daisy Ogembo, PhD Candidate from Oxford University, at the 7th annual ICTD meeting in Kigali on February 7th 2019

Publicada em: Governo e ONGs
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Taxation of Professionals in Africa: Are Professional Associations and Regulators an Untapped Resource?

  1. 1. TAXATION OF PROFESSIONALS IN AFRICA A R E R E G U L ATO R S & P R O F E S S I O N A L A S S O C I AT I O N S A N U N TA P P E D R E S O U R C E ? Daisy Ogembo: University of Oxford
  2. 2. B A C K G R O U N D TA X I N G T H E ‘ H A R D - TO - TA X ’
  3. 3. THE HARD-TO-TAX? Farmers, SMEs, & professionals (Jantscher & Tanzi 1987, Musgrave 1990, Tadesse & Taube 1996, Alm, Martinez-Vazquez & Schneider 2004) 01 Informal or formal sector? 02 Why professionals? 03
  4. 4. INFORMAL OR FORMAL SECTOR? Credits: Schneider & Enste, Joshi et al, and Martin Hearson
  5. 5. WHY PROFESSIONALS? HTT = Farmers + SMEs + Professionals • Gap in tax evasion literature • Gap in policy decisions and administrative effort targeting the ‘informal sector’ • Scope for high earnings, scope for evasion when self-employed and dealing in cash, potential for damage to the overall tax system (Keen 212) Gap in the literature Image Credits: Martin Hearson
  6. 6. SIGNIFICANCE • Rapid changes in development funding, need to harness domestic resources, growing socio-economic needs (Carnahan 2015) • High number of HTT (Chen 2001, Woodruff 2013) • Failure, reluctance or inaction to tackle evasion by HTT professionals= adverse implications for overall tax system: equity (Bahl 2005, Bird & Wallace 2005, Musgrave 1990, Terkper 2003) and tax morale (Frey & Torgler 2007).
  7. 7. T H E C A S E S T U D Y TA X C O M P L I A N C E AT T I T U D E S A M O N G D E N T I S T S & L AW Y E R S I N K E N YA
  8. 8. RESEARCH METHODS • Goal: In line with the theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research- not to generalise findings to whole population, but to build deep, rich, and thick narratives and analysis regarding perceptions, attitudes, and patterns of thought of respondents (Rogers and Oats 2012). • 31 respondents: 22 taxpayers, 5 government officials and 4 experts; • Geographical location-Nairobi; • Why dentists and lawyers? • Snowball/referral sampling (Browne 2005). • Thematic analysis
  9. 9. FINDINGS MAJOR THEMES: Taxpayer visibility Perceptions of Consequences of Evasion Low Levels of Financial and Tax Literacy Regulatory Failures Government Service Delivery & Corruption The Influence of Peer Perception MINOR THEMES: Collaborative Tax Evasion Unfairness The Unintended Effects of a Court of Appeal Order Public Perception of the Revenue Authority Formalisation & Firm Growth Legal Form
  10. 10. R E G U L AT O R Y FA I L U R E S W H AT D O W E K N O W ?
  11. 11. CASE STUDY DATA LAWYERS • Law Society of Kenya; • Undercutting: Rule 4 of the Code of Ethics and Conduct for Advocates & Rule 3 of the Advocates (Practice) Rules; • Abuse of confidentiality rules, fiduciary duty, & client account rules: Rules 5 and 7 of the Code of Ethics, Advocates Act & subsidiary legislation, Rule of the Advocates (Accountants) Rules; • Rule 3 of the Advocates (Accountant’s Certificate Rules).
  12. 12. CASE STUDY DATA DENTISTS • Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board; • Inefficient, only interested in collecting members’ fees, and does nothing for the members; • Does not require or, at a minimum, encourage proper record keeping, financial management, and tax compliance among medics; • Board should play a role v Board unable out to carry core mandate; • Dental ethics courses should incorporate lessons on tax compliance and financial management; • No rules to guide members (cf. LSK)
  13. 13. CASE STUDY DATA GENERAL OBSERVATIONS • Does tax evasion amount to professional misconduct? • Case study suggests regulators/associations do not think so; • LSK rules robust but not adequately enforced; tax evasion not explicitly & adequately addressed in rules; • Failure by other associations and regulators starker: E.g., Constitution and bylaws of Architectural Association of Kenya incorporating Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Town Planners, Engineers, Landscape Architects, Environmental Design Consultants and Construction Project Managers
  14. 14. OTHER JURISDICTIONS • Does tax evasion amount to professional misconduct? • Test: whether the offences touch on the taxpayer’s professionalism thereby warranting suspension or dismissal. • Australia Bar Associations case • England: GP engaged in tax fraud • Law Society of Ireland v Carroll and another [2009] IESC 41 • U.K. Bar Standards Board and Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal
  15. 15. C O N C L U S I O N W H AT D O W E L E A R N A N D W H AT I S L E F T TO D I S C O V E R ?
  16. 16. UTILISING REGULATORS/ASSOCIATIONS IN TAX COMPLIANCE • What role should regulators play? • Extent of mandate? Radical or moderate? • Members reactions, especially associations; • Incentive for collaboration in tax compliance? • Proper checks and balances to avoid abuse
  17. 17. UTILISING REGULATORS/ASSOCIATIONS IN TAX COMPLIANCE Selling the Idea • Failure, by professionals, to keep proper financial records and comply with tax legislation has severe ramifications for the integrity of a profession; • ‘Professional’ rather than ‘private’ problem 2018); • Enhancing role through legislation and other channels of collaboration; • Roles in identifying tax payers, educating taxpayers, facilitating compliance, enforcement of the law

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