- Tanzanians overwhelmingly (77%) endorse the government’s right to collect taxes.
- Yet almost half (46%) say people in the country “often” or “always” avoid paying their taxes.
- Two-thirds (65%) of Tanzanians say it is “difficult” or “very difficult” to find out what taxes and fees they are supposed to pay.
- And even more (70%) report that it is hard to find out how the government uses the tax revenues it collects.
- Strong majorities say it is fair to tax rich people at higher rates than ordinary citizens (69%), but also that small traders and others in the informal sector should be made to pay taxes on their businesses (68%).
Paying taxes is a fundamental civic duty meant to be exercised by citizens for their welfare and national development (Prichard, 2010). Tax revenues account for more than 85% of Tanzania’s domestic revenues and about 70% of government expenditures (Bank of Tanzania, 2021).
The government has initiated several measures to improve tax compliance, including updating tax-collection technology, enhancing outreach of tax services and education to the public, restructuring the Tanzania Revenue Authority, and strengthening enforcement measures (Mzalendo & Chimilila, 2020). The government recently introduced a tax on mobile-money transactions, whose proceeds are intended to support the improvement of social-services delivery, including the construction of classrooms and health centres, particularly in underserved areas (Mshomba, 2021).
Afrobarometer survey findings show that most Tanzanians see tax collection as legitimate and believe that the government uses tax revenues for the well-being of its citizens. Yet a majority report that citizens “often” or “always” avoid paying their taxes, and most say it is difficult to know what taxes and fees they are supposed to pay and how government uses tax revenues.
Tanzanias are divided on whether they favour higher taxes to support more government services, but a large majority say they would welcome higher taxes to fund programmes targeting young people.