In any economy, balancing expenditures, revenues, and debts is a delicate and often politicized task. Competing interests and priorities buffet those tasked with planning a viable and stable national budget. For any state, taxes raised from individuals and businesses are a central plinth supporting the provision of services, the maintenance of infrastructure, the employment of civil servants, and the smooth functioning of the state.
Most Zimbabweans believe that a good citizen in a democracy is obliged to pay taxes and that the government always has the right to make people pay taxes, Afrobarometer's most recent survey shows.
At the same time, public perceptions of tax officials as corrupt are high, and a majority of citizens demand accountability for how taxpayers’ money is spent. While more than half of respondents support taxation in order for the country to develop, a substantial proportion challenge the government to find other revenue sources to support development.
A majority of Africans see tax-generated government revenue as an important national development resource, Afrobarometer's unprecedented survey of 29 countries show.
However, six in ten people say it is difficult to know how much tax they pay and a seven in ten do not know how the government spends the taxes, according to the survey, with a sample of 43,500, representing the views of half the African population.
Using Ghana Round 5 Afrobarometer survey data from 2012, this paper seeks to examine Ghanaians’ knowledge of tax obligations to the state, their opinions on the tax system, and attitudes towards the payment of taxes. Furthermore, the paper explores factors that fuel tax evasion or the readiness to dodge tax obligations among citizens.
What are the popular opinions and attitudes among Tanzanians towards taxation and tax enforcement? Are public views supportive of, or a hindrance to, the country’s drive to attain higher revenues? The Afrobarometer surveys have been tracking public opinions and attitudes towards taxation in Tanzania since 2001. This brief uses this data to explore contemporary public opinions and attitudes towards taxation, tax enforcement and tax officials.
High levels of unemployment, coupled with low salaries and poor conditions of service for most of the few people in formal employment, is a serious source of concern for many Zambian citizens. The rise in fuel prices, especially during the period 2006 to towards the end of 2008, among other things, resulted in price increases of essential goods and services. The closure of some companies, including some mining companies, following the world economic recession, resulted in many job losses, further weakening livelihood opportunities for many Zambians.
This paper examines factors that determine citizens’ tax-compliance attitude in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. Using the 2011/12 Afrobarometer survey data, we find that tax-compliance attitude is positively correlated with the provision of public services in the four countries. However, the correlation depends on the specific service in question and differs between countries. Tax knowledge and awareness are found to be positively correlated with tax-compliance attitude.
Why do citizens assent to pay tax? On what condition do private individuals agree to commit their personal income to a public fund at the disposal of the state? What are the reciprocal responsibilities of the state expected in return for this remarkable act?
Afrobarometer survey data, covering 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa reveal widespread citizen commitment to the principle of taxation and to taking responsibility – by paying their taxes – for national development. But taxation systems across the continent remain opaque to large majorities. Most find it difficult to know what they owe, and the public is even more in the dark when it comes to understanding how tax revenues are actually used by governments.