Afrobarometer survey covering 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa

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INTRODUCTION

Afrobarometer survey data, covering 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa[1] 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.? Moreover, perceived corruption among tax authorities remains significant, and evidence suggests these perceptions undermine public commitment to the integrity of the tax system and increase the likelihood of non-compliance.[2]

 

Mobilization of resources through taxation is a top priority on Africa’s development agenda. For most countries, the revenue available from taxes is far less than actual public-sector spending needs[3]. Revenue averaged 24% of gross domestic product from 2000 to 2010, with peak performance at 28% in 2008[4]. When compared with tax efforts in OECD countries[5] (33.8% in 2010), it is clear there is room for African countries to expand tax revenue generation.

 

Many countries have had to rely on foreign donors to fill the gap. As governments face demand for better services and improved living conditions from growing populations, reform of tax and public finance systems to improve domestic revenue collection are likely to remain top development priorities.

 

Afrobarometer findings suggest governments need to improve the transparency and accountability of revenue authorities if they want to strengthen the foundations of a sound revenue system.

 

Key Findings

  • Africans say taxation is key to national development

?????? Two-thirds (66%) say citizens must pay taxes for their countries to develop

?????? A majority (52%) favors paying higher taxes in exchange for better services, compared to just one in three (35%) who would give up services in favor of keeping taxes low.

 

  • And they are willing to pay:

?????? 70% say authorities have the right to make people pay taxes (and across 16 countries[6] tracked since 2002, this figure has increased from 64% to 71%)

?????? 49% believe it’s wrong and punishable for people to avoid paying the taxes they owe government (another 35% say it is ?wrong but understandable?)

 

  • More than one-third (35%) say that ?most? or ?all? tax officials are corrupt, and another 39% think that at least some of them are.? Perceived corruption among tax officials appears to undermine commitment to the integrity of the tax system.? Distrust in the conduct of tax officials increases tolerance for tax avoidance in principle, and reported non-compliance with tax obligations in practice.

 

  • Large majorities report that tax systems remain opaque: 62% say it is difficult to find out what taxes they owe, while 76% say it is difficult to find out how the government uses tax revenue.

 

  • ? West Africans express the highest levels of support for taxation in principle, but the lowest levels of confidence that everyone complies with tax obligations. East Africans face the greatest information barriers.? Southern Africans have better access to information, and perceive far less corruption, but they also report that it is somewhat easier to avoid paying taxes than in other regions.

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Taxes as Development Resources

Broad majorities see taxes as important to their countries’ advancement. Two out of three (66%) say citizens should pay their taxes to government “for the country to develop” compared with just 30% who think their governments should find their resources elsewhere.? There is, however, substantial variation across countries (Figure 1).? Nearly 85% of Ghanaians and Ivorians are committed to taxation to support development, but in two countries ? Malawi and Lesotho ? this is a minority position.

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Figure 1: Support for taxation for development | 29 countries, 2011-2013

New Picture

Participants were asked: ?Which of the following statements is closest to your view:

Statement 1: Citizens must pay their taxes to the government in order for our country to develop. Statement 2: The government can find enough resources for development from other sources without having to tax the people.?(Figures show % who ?agree? or ?agree very strongly? with Statement 1.)

 

Support for taxation is a majority position in all regions, but is substantially higher in West Africa (73%) than East (59%) or Southern Africa (60%) (Figure 2).

 

Figure 2: Support for taxation for development, by region |29 countries |2011-2013

?New Picture (1)

 

In fact, Africans are committed enough to the principle of paying taxes to support development that a majority (52%), albeit slim, is even willing to see their taxes increase, as long as this would result in more services provided by governments (Figure 3).

New Picture (2)?

Lagos Market, Zouzou Wizman, Creative Commons

 

Figure 3: The tax-for-service trade-off |29 countries, 2011-2013

New Picture (3)

Participants were asked: ?Which of the following statements is closest to your view: Statement 1: It is better to pay higher taxes, if it means that there will be more services provided by government. Statement 2: It is better to pay lower taxes, even if it means there will be fewer services provided by government.?

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But while this is the position of a majority among West Africans (59%), in East Africa (47%) and Southern Africa (44%), support is much weaker; pluralities, but not majorities are willing to pay higher taxes for increased services (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Tax-for-service trade-off, by region |29 countries | 2011-2013

New Picture (4)?

The Legitimacy of Taxation

Africans? widespread recognition of the value of taxation is matched by their support for the role of revenue authorities in collecting taxes from people, and to people’s obligation to pay what they owe.? Across 29 countries fully 70% say tax agencies have a right to collect taxes (Figure 5).? This includes majorities in every country, though only slim ones in Madagascar and Togo (52% each).? Tax departments enjoy the highest levels of legitimacy in Ghana (90%) and Niger (84%).

 

Figure 5: Authorities’ rights to tax citizens |high & low countries | 2011-2013

New Picture (5)? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??

Participants were asked: ?Please tell me whether you disagree or agree with the following statement: The tax authorities always have the right to make people pay taxes.? (% ?agree? or ?strongly agree?)

Moreover, across 16 countries tracked for the last decade, support for the role of tax authorities has grown steadily, from 64% in 2002 to 71% circa 2012 (Figure 6).

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Figure 6: Increasing endorsement of tax authority legitimacy

??????????????? |16 countries | 2002-2012

New Picture (6)

Participants were asked: ?Please tell me whether you disagree or agree with the following statement: The tax authorities always have the right to make people pay taxes.? (% ?agree? or ?strongly agree?)

 

Many Africans reject deception about paying tax obligations, though not all are willing to fully condemn it.? A large majority (84%) find tax evasion wrong; just under half (49%) deem it not only wrong but also punishable, while 35% find it wrong but understandable (Figure 7).? Mauritians express the strongest commitment to the integrity of the tax system, with 73% saying tax evasion is wrong and should be punished, followed by Malians (65%), Ghanaians and Cameroonians (63% each).? Support for this position is much less solid in other countries.? In Lesotho and Malawi, nearly one third (29% each) of citizens find not paying taxes ?not wrong at all?, and less than one in three identify tax avoidance as a punishable offence in Uganda (32%), Mozambique (31%) and Malawi (28%).

 

?A large majority find tax evasion wrong; just under half deem it not only wrong but also punishable?

Figure 7: Tolerance for tax avoidance | 29 countries, 2011-2013

?New Picture (7)

Participants were asked: ?I am now going to ask you about a range of different actions that some people take.? Please tell me whether you think the following action is not wrong at all, wrong but understandable, or wrong and punishable: not paying the taxes they owe on their income.?

 

West Africans express greater commitment to tax obligations in principle, with a slim majority (52%) identifying non-payment of taxes as a punishable offence, compared with 48% in East Africa and 45% in Southern Africa.? East Africans are more likely to say that tax evasion is ?not wrong at all? compared with respondents from other parts of the continent (Figure 8).

 

Figure 8: Tolerance for tax avoidance, by region | 29 countries, 2011-2013

?New Picture (8)

 

Tax Compliance

Considering that large majorities support taxation, in principle, what about compliance with taxes in practice?? On the whole, the public believes compliance is widespread.? A majority (58%) says tax avoidance ?never? or only ?rarely? occurs.? However, a sizeable minority is less convinced, with nearly one in four (23%) saying tax avoidance occurs ?often? and another 6% asserting it ?always? happens.

 

Perceived avoidance is at its lowest in several Southern African countries, including Namibia (just 12% think people ?often? or ?always? avoid paying), Botswana (13%), and Zambia (15%), along with Niger (14%) and Burundi (16%).? Some West Africans perceive lower levels of compliance: 53% of Sierra Leoneans and 56% of Ivoirians believe that people frequently avoid paying their taxes (Figure 9).

?Nearly one in four says tax avoidance occurs ‘often’ ?

Figure 9: Perceived non-compliance with tax requirements

New Picture (9)

??????????? ?? | 29 countries, 2011-2013

Participants were asked: ?In your opinion, how often, in this country: do people avoid paying the taxes that they owe the government?? (% ?often? or ?always?)

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East and Southern Africans are more confident that fellow citizens comply with tax obligations (68% and 62%, respectively) compared with West Africans (53%) (Figure 10).

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Figure 10: Perceived non-compliance with tax requirements, by region ????????

???????????????????? |29 countries, 2011-2013

New Picture (10)?

Afrobarometer also asks respondents whether they, personally, have refused to pay a tax or fee to government at any time within the past year.? Most said they did not, but nearly one in ten (8%) reported they had indeed done so at least once (Figure 11).? ?And while 10% or fewer reported having taken such a step in 24 of the 29 countries, self-reported levels of non-compliance were far higher in Tanzania (22%), Sierra Leone (20%) and Uganda (15%).

 

Figure 11: Personal refusal to pay a tax or fee ? ?| high & low countries, 2011-2013

New Picture

 

Participants were asked: ?Here is a list of actions that people sometime take as citizens.? For each of these, please tell me whether you, personally, have done any of these things during the past year: refused to pay a tax or fee to government.? (% saying ?yes?)

 

Transparency & Accessibility

Widespread support for taxation can be undermined when tax systems are opaque and inaccessible to citizens.? Six of ten (62%) Africans indicate it is ?difficult? or ?very difficult? to get information about the taxes and fees they are required to pay (Figure 12).? A startling 83% say that getting information on what they owe is difficult in Burundi, and three-quarters say the same in Guinea (77%), Malawi (75%) and Togo (74%).? Fewer than half cite difficulties in just four countries: South Africa (47%), Cote d?Ivoire (45%), Botswana (43%) and Mauritius (37%).

 

Figure 12: Inaccessibility of tax information

????????????????? |High & low countries, 2011-2013

New Picture

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Participants were asked: ?Based on your experience, how easy or difficult is it to do each of the following: To find out what taxes and fees you are supposed to pay to the government.? (% ?difficult? or ?very difficult?)

 

It is even more difficult for citizens to find out how those monies are being used by their governments. Nearly eight in ten (76%) say it is ?difficult? or ?very difficult? ?to find out how government uses the revenues from people?s taxes and fees? (Figure 13).

 

Figure 13: Inaccessibility of information on use of tax revenue

????????????????? |High & low countries, 2011-2013

New Picture (1)

Participants were asked: ?Based on your experience, how easy or difficult is it to do each of the following: To find out how government uses the revenues from people?s taxes and fees.? (% ?difficult? or ?very difficult?)

 

East Africans report the highest levels of frustration with the opaqueness of the tax system, with nearly eight in ten (75%) saying it is difficult to know what taxes to pay and nearly nine in ten (86%) reporting difficulty finding out how the government spends revenue (Figure 14).

 

Figure 14: Opaqueness of tax systems, by region |29 countries, 2011-2013

New Picture

 

 

Enforcement

While most governments have not succeeded in making information on taxes owed accessible, they nonetheless appear to have established a credible threat of enforcement.? More than two thirds (69%) of respondents believe that it is ?difficult? or ?very difficult? to ?avoid paying income or property taxes that you owe to government? (Figure 15).? Just 13% say it would be ?easy? or ?very easy? (another 13% ?don?t know?, and 5% say they don?t owe any taxes).? In Lesotho, half (50%) of respondents say it is difficult, while 31% don?t know.? Sierra Leoneans were most likely to say tax avoidance is actually easy, with 25% suggesting this is the case, although 69% disagree. In all other countries, fewer than 20% say avoiding taxes is easy.

 

?Governments appear to have established a credible threat of enforcement?

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Figure 15: Difficulty of avoiding taxes | 29 countries, 2011-2013

New Picture

Participants were asked: ?Based on your experience, how easy or difficult is it to do each of the following: To avoid paying the income or property taxes that you owe to government.?

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Perceptions about the effectiveness of tax enforcement appear to have a significant impact on compliance.? People who say it is difficult or very difficult to avoid paying are also much less likely to report that people actually do avoid paying their taxes (Figure 16).[7]

Figure 16: Tax enforcement vs. tax avoidance | 29 countries, 2011-2013

?New Picture?

Integrity of Tax Authorities

Levels of citizens? trust in tax departments and perceived levels of corruption among tax officials suggest tax authorities face a significant credibility gap. The public is roughly evenly divided with regard to the trustworthiness of tax officials: 44% of citizens say they trust them ?somewhat? or ?a lot?, but an equal number (44%) express the opposite sentiment, trusting them ?not at all? or ?just a little?.

Similarly, when asked about corruption among tax officials, people express clear reservations. One in three citizens (35%) says ?most? or ?all? tax officials are corrupt, and another 39% reports that at least ?some? of them are (Figure 17).? Only one in ten (10%) perceive that none engage in illicit exchanges. Tax officials receive fewer reports of corruption than police and other government officials, but more than MPs, local government councilors and officials in the court systems.[8]? Perceptions of corruption among tax officials are highest in Cameroon and Nigeria (59% each), followed by Sierra Leone (57%), and Benin (54%), whereas only 9% in Mauritius, 11% in Cape Verde and 13% in Botswana say corruption is similarly widespread.

 

?Figure 17: Perceived corruption among tax authorities

????????????????? | 29 countries, 2011-2013

?New Picture

Participants were asked: ?How many of the following people do you think are involved in corruption, or haven?t you heard enough about them to say: tax officials, like Ministry of Finance officials or local government tax collectors??

 

The perceived level of corruption among tax officials (24%) is substantially lower in Southern Africa compared to East (42%) and West Africa (40%) (Figure 18).

 

Figure 18: Perceived corruption among tax authorities | by region

????????????????? |29 countries, 2011-2013? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??

 

?New Picture

Across the 16 countries tracked since 2005, there is little change in perceived corruption at the high and low ends.? Widespread corruption has consistently been reported by about one in three people (32% said ?most? or ?all? tax officials were corrupt in 2012, compared with 33% in 2005 and 2008), and no problems are reported by about one in ten.? However, during the same period, the number reporting that they ?don?t know? about corruption among tax authorities has decreased, while those reporting that at least ?some of them? are corrupt has substantially increased, suggesting that tax system reforms over the past decade may have done little to improve the image of tax officials in the eyes of the public.

 

Figure 19: Changes in perceptions of corruption among tax authorities?????????? ?????????? |16 countries, 2005-2012

New Picture

Corruption Undermines Compliance

The evidence further suggests that corruption plays an important role in undermining commitment to taxation, both in principle and in practice.? For example, among those who perceive that corruption among tax officials never occurs, 55% view non-payment of taxes as ?wrong and punishable?, and 29% see it as ?wrong but understandable?.? In contrast, among those who perceive that all tax officials are corrupt, tolerance for non-payment of taxes increases substantially: the number who says tax avoidance is a punishable offence declines to 47%, while 37% regard it as understandable (Figure 20).

Figure 20: Perceived corruption and tolerance for taxation avoidance

????????????????? | 29 countries, 2011-2013?

Higher levels of perceived corruption are also linked to increases in reported levels of tax avoidance.? Among those who believe that tax officials are honest, just 23% believe that tax avoidance is frequent (occurring ?often? or ?always?) , whereas among those who see malfeasance among tax officials as widespread, avoidance is also reported to be more common, with 37% reporting that breaches are frequent (Figure 21).

?Among those who perceive that all tax officials are corrupt, tolerance for non-payment of taxes increases substantially?

 

 

 

Figure 21: Perceived corruption and frequency of tax avoidance

????????????????? | 29 countries, 2011-2013

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Conclusion

Reform of domestic taxation systems has been accorded high priority across the continent over the past two decades.? Afrobarometer’s findings suggest that Africans are largely on board: people affirm that national development should be built on a foundation of domestic taxation, rather than relying solely on other sources of revenue.? Moreover, tax authorities enjoy widespread ? and growing ? legitimacy among African citizens.? Significant numbers also affirm the importance of compliance with tax obligations, although there is still a divide as to whether non-compliance is understandable or should be treated as a punishable offence.

 

But transparency of tax authorities and accountability of public finance systems remain public concerns.? Large majorities report difficulties in knowing what they owe and in finding out how governments use revenue generated through taxation.

 

The perceived lack of integrity of tax authorities also remains a major challenge to governments.? Although they are not the worst offenders (an honor reserved for the police), the public perceives high levels of corruption among tax officials.? And these perceptions appear to be directly linked to lower levels of consent to taxation, and lower reported levels of compliance.

 

Improving transparency and accountability among revenue authorities must therefore remain a cornerstone of efforts to strengthen domestic revenue generation. Improving popular access to information about taxes people owe and about public spending, while reducing corruption and misuse of public monies, will help encourage voluntary compliance and enhance government revenue generation.

 

Afrobarometer Taxation Database Annexes

Citizens must pay taxes for development vs. find other resources
Country

Citizens pay taxes to develop country

Neither/Don’t know

Find other resources

Benin

69%

1%

30%

Botswana

57%

5%

38%

Burkina Faso

68%

8%

24%

Burundi

56%

2%

43%

Cameroon

82%

4%

14%

Cape Verde

69%

7%

24%

Cote d?Ivoire

84%

2%

14%

Ghana

84%

1%

15%

Guinea

50%

2%

47%

Kenya

73%

3%

24%

Lesotho

32%

7%

61%

Liberia

81%

1%

19%

Madagascar

64%

12%

24%

Malawi

45%

3%

52%

Mali

79%

1%

20%

Mauritius

67%

1%

32%

Mozambique

72%

10%

18%

Namibia

53%

3%

44%

Niger

78%

1%

21%

Nigeria

64%

1%

35%

Senegal

81%

2%

18%

Sierra Leone

77%

1%

22%

South Africa

68%

5%

28%

Swaziland

77%

4%

20%

Tanzania

55%

1%

43%

Togo

61%

4%

35%

Uganda

51%

2%

47%

Zambia

63%

5%

32%

Zimbabwe

58%

4%

38%

?

?

?

?

Average

66%

4%

30%

? ? ? ?
?

?

?

?

?

? ? ?
Prefer higher taxes, more services vs. lower taxes, fewer services
Country

Prefer higher taxes, more services

Neither/Don’t know

Prefer lower taxes, fewer services

Benin

57%

6%

37%

Botswana

33%

22%

46%

Burkina Faso

51%

18%

31%

Burundi

35%

5%

60%

Cameroon

60%

19%

21%

Cape Verde

48%

32%

20%

Cote d?Ivoire

65%

9%

26%

Ghana

58%

7%

35%

Guinea

52%

11%

37%

Kenya

49%

18%

33%

Lesotho

37%

19%

44%

Liberia

63%

5%

32%

Madagascar

48%

24%

29%

Malawi

33%

9%

58%

Mali

59%

6%

35%

Mauritius

54%

14%

31%

Mozambique

53%

23%

24%

Namibia

46%

9%

45%

Niger

68%

7%

25%

Nigeria

51%

6%

43%

Senegal

70%

7%

23%

Sierra Leone

65%

4%

31%

South Africa

49%

13%

37%

Swaziland

56%

19%

25%

Tanzania

64%

9%

27%

Togo

56%

16%

27%

Uganda

41%

11%

48%

Zambia

45%

13%

41%

Zimbabwe

31%

18%

51%

 

Average

52%

13%

35%

?

?

?

?

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Tax authorities always have the right to make people pay taxes
Country

Agree / Strongly agree

Neither/ Don’t know

Disagree /???? Strongly disagree

Benin

59%

19%

21%

Botswana

81%

10%

10%

Burkina Faso

58%

17%

24%

Burundi

68%

9%

23%

Cameroon

68%

11%

21%

Cape Verde

67%

16%

17%

Cote d?Ivoire

67%

10%

23%

Ghana

90%

5%

5%

Guinea

59%

9%

33%

Kenya

69%

11%

20%

Lesotho

58%

15%

27%

Liberia

82%

7%

12%

Madagascar

52%

31%

17%

Malawi

68%

5%

27%

Mali

77%

6%

17%

Mauritius

74%

14%

12%

Mozambique

68%

18%

15%

Namibia

66%

18%

16%

Niger

84%

8%

9%

Nigeria

66%

12%

22%

Senegal

77%

8%

15%

Sierra Leone

82%

9%

9%

South Africa

68%

20%

12%

Swaziland

82%

10%

8%

Tanzania

71%

6%

24%

Togo

52%

11%

37%

Uganda

66%

8%

26%

Zambia

77%

10%

13%

Zimbabwe

76%

13%

12%

 

Average

70%

12%

18%

 

 

 

Tolerance for not paying taxes owed to government ?
Country

Not wrong??????? at all

Wrong but understandable

Wrong and punishable

Don’t know

Benin

4%

43%

52%

1%

Botswana

6%

31%

55%

8%

Burkina Faso

10%

44%

40%

6%

Burundi

17%

19%

62%

1%

Cameroon

4%

29%

63%

4%

Cape Verde

20%

38%

35%

7%

Cote d?Ivoire

5%

35%

53%

7%

Ghana

6%

29%

63%

2%

Guinea

16%

28%

51%

5%

Kenya

10%

32%

51%

6%

Lesotho

29%

19%

37%

16%

Liberia

8%

25%

57%

10%

Madagascar

17%

33%

36%

15%

Malawi

29%

42%

28%

2%

Mali

4%

30%

65%

1%

Mauritius

3%

23%

73%

2%

Mozambique

17%

33%

31%

20%

Namibia

10%

37%

49%

5%

Niger

11%

24%

61%

5%

Nigeria

11%

47%

40%

2%

Senegal

4%

38%

56%

2%

Sierra Leone

6%

38%

53%

4%

South Africa

6%

36%

52%

6%

Swaziland

3%

36%

58%

3%

Tanzania

19%

33%

45%

3%

Togo

8%

45%

42%

6%

Uganda

18%

46%

32%

4%

Zambia

6%

46%

41%

7%

Zimbabwe

10%

49%

37%

5%

 

Average

11%

35%

49%

6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

?

?

?

?

? ? ?
Perceived frequency of tax non-compliance
Country

Never / Rarely

Often / Always

Don’t know

Benin

54%

37%

9%

Botswana

65%

13%

22%

Burkina Faso

41%

42%

17%

Burundi

75%

16%

9%

Cameroon

38%

45%

16%

Cape Verde

36%

44%

20%

Cote d?Ivoire

32%

56%

12%

Ghana

64%

30%

6%

Guinea

63%

30%

7%

Kenya

63%

26%

11%

Lesotho

35%

24%

40%

Liberia

59%

29%

13%

Madagascar

50%

25%

25%

Malawi

66%

21%

13%

Mali

68%

29%

3%

Mauritius

74%

21%

5%

Mozambique

56%

23%

22%

Namibia

77%

12%

12%

Niger

81%

14%

5%

Nigeria

60%

34%

5%

Senegal

50%

38%

12%

Sierra Leone

44%

53%

4%

South Africa

54%

36%

10%

Swaziland

60%

21%

19%

Tanzania

67%

28%

6%

Togo

52%

37%

11%

Uganda

67%

22%

11%

Zambia

71%

15%

14%

Zimbabwe

69%

19%

12%

       
Average

58%

29%

13%

       
     

 

 

 

 

 

 
Self-reported refusal to pay tax or fee to government

 

Country

No

Yes

Don’t know

Benin

84%

10%

6%

Botswana

94%

2%

4%

Burkina Faso

86%

7%

7%

Burundi

89%

9%

2%

Cameroon

87%

6%

7%

Cape Verde

89%

4%

8%

Cote d?Ivoire

90%

7%

3%

Ghana

91%

8%

1%

Guinea

90%

8%

2%

Kenya

87%

9%

5%

Lesotho

86%

6%

8%

Liberia

89%

6%

5%

Madagascar

82%

8%

10%

Malawi

95%

3%

2%

Mali

96%

4%

1%

Mauritius

98%

1%

1%

Mozambique

85%

11%

5%

Namibia

90%

4%

6%

Niger

94%

4%

2%

Nigeria

89%

10%

2%

Senegal

85%

11%

4%

Sierra Leone

79%

20%

2%

South Africa

93%

5%

3%

Swaziland

96%

2%

2%

Tanzania

78%

22%

1%

Togo

86%

8%

6%

Uganda

79%

15%

6%

Zambia

93%

3%

4%

Zimbabwe

95%

4%

1%

       
Average

89%

8%

4%

     

 

 

 
       
Difficulty to know taxes and fees owed to government
Country

Easy /? Very easy

Difficult / Very difficult

Don’t know

Benin

18%

66%

16%

Botswana

31%

43%

26%

Burkina Faso

25%

62%

13%

Burundi

11%

83%

6%

Cameroon

25%

58%

16%

Cape Verde

33%

54%

13%

Cote d?Ivoire

39%

45%

15%

Ghana

19%

68%

13%

Guinea

17%

77%

6%

Kenya

19%

73%

9%

Lesotho

20%

52%

28%

Liberia

14%

68%

18%

Madagascar

11%

64%

25%

Malawi

18%

75%

7%

Mali

43%

51%

6%

Mauritius

55%

37%

8%

Mozambique

26%

62%

12%

Namibia

22%

58%

21%

Niger

30%

59%

11%

Nigeria

24%

69%

7%

Senegal

22%

63%

15%

Sierra Leone

26%

71%

4%

South Africa

33%

47%

21%

Swaziland

26%

57%

18%

Tanzania

23%

72%

6%

Togo

15%

74%

11%

Uganda

20%

73%

8%

Zambia

34%

54%

13%

Zimbabwe

23%

63%

14%

       
Average

25%

62%

13%

       

 

 

 

       
Difficulty to know how government uses tax revenues
Country

Easy / Very easy

Difficult / Very difficult

Don’t know

Benin

7%

78%

16%

Botswana

16%

57%

27%

Burkina Faso

9%

79%

13%

Burundi

6%

89%

5%

Cameroon

9%

77%

15%

Cape Verde

13%

75%

12%

Cote d?Ivoire

9%

74%

16%

Ghana

14%

74%

12%

Guinea

11%

85%

5%

Kenya

7%

85%

9%

Lesotho

11%

61%

28%

Liberia

8%

76%

16%

Madagascar

3%

72%

25%

Malawi

15%

81%

4%

Mali

18%

76%

7%

Mauritius

13%

80%

8%

Mozambique

14%

75%

11%

Namibia

16%

63%

20%

Niger

14%

73%

13%

Nigeria

11%

82%

7%

Senegal

9%

76%

15%

Sierra Leone

15%

81%

4%

South Africa

20%

59%

21%

Swaziland

7%

79%

13%

Tanzania

9%

86%

5%

Togo

7%

82%

11%

Uganda

10%

84%

7%

Zambia

10%

80%

10%

Zimbabwe

7%

79%

14%

       
Average

11%

76%

13%

 

 

 

Difficulty to avoid paying taxes owed to government ?
Country

Easy /????????????????? Very easy

Difficult /???????????? Very difficult

Don’t owe??????? taxes

Don’t know

Benin

11%

71%

11%

8%

Botswana

13%

54%

5%

28%

Burkina Faso

10%

73%

2%

15%

Burundi

6%

84%

4%

7%

Cameroon

15%

61%

1%

23%

Cape Verde

13%

71%

2%

13%

Cote d?Ivoire

17%

66%

1%

16%

Ghana

19%

64%

2%

14%

Guinea

17%

74%

3%

6%

Kenya

11%

75%

3%

12%

Lesotho

11%

50%

8%

31%

Liberia

14%

67%

2%

17%

Madagascar

6%

67%

5%

22%

Malawi

17%

72%

4%

7%

Mali

11%

81%

3%

5%

Mauritius

6%

80%

7%

8%

Mozambique

19%

63%

1%

18%

Namibia

9%

51%

28%

12%

Niger

11%

72%

3%

14%

Nigeria

15%

73%

4%

8%

Senegal

17%

65%

1%

17%

Sierra Leone

25%

69%

2%

5%

South Africa

18%

55%

7%

20%

Swaziland

16%

62%

4%

18%

Tanzania

14%

77%

5%

5%

Togo

10%

77%

1%

13%

Uganda

13%

76%

5%

6%

Zambia

11%

72%

8%

10%

Zimbabwe

7%

75%

6%

12%

 

Average

13%

69%

5%

13%

 

 

 

Perceived corruption among tax officials ?
Country

None of them

Some of them

Most /?????????????? All of them

Don’t know

Benin

5%

32%

54%

10%

Botswana

14%

42%

13%

32%

Burkina Faso

16%

29%

33%

22%

Burundi

13%

31%

46%

11%

Cameroon

2%

27%

59%

13%

Cape Verde

15%

38%

11%

36%

Cote d?Ivoire

6%

51%

31%

12%

Ghana

5%

50%

41%

4%

Guinea

16%

38%

36%

10%

Kenya

5%

43%

40%

13%

Lesotho

12%

27%

19%

42%

Liberia

5%

37%

48%

9%

Madagascar

11%

24%

24%

41%

Malawi

13%

40%

27%

21%

Mali

16%

33%

45%

6%

Mauritius

18%

57%

9%

16%

Mozambique

11%

34%

31%

24%

Namibia

19%

41%

28%

12%

Niger

12%

46%

26%

16%

Nigeria

2%

37%

59%

3%

Senegal

16%

35%

20%

28%

Sierra Leone

6%

34%

57%

4%

South Africa

18%

41%

23%

18%

Swaziland

13%

38%

24%

25%

Tanzania

8%

48%

38%

7%

Togo

5%

28%

48%

20%

Uganda

3%

45%

45%

7%

Zambia

10%

53%

23%

14%

Zimbabwe

4%

39%

46%

12%

 

Average

10%

39%

35%

17%

 

Rose Aiko is director of research on governance and service delivery at REPOA Policy Research for Development in Dar es Salaam.

Carolyn Logan is deputy director of Afrobarometer and an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University.

 

Afrobarometer is produced collaboratively by social scientists from more than 30 African countries. Coordination is provided by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) in South Africa, the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, and the Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy (IREEP) in Benin. We gratefully acknowledge generous support from the UK?s Department for International Development (DfID), the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank for Afrobarometer Round 5. For more information and further requests for analysis please visit Afrobarometer website:? www.afrobarometer.org.

 

Policy Paper #7 | 5 March 2014

 


[1] Afrobarometer surveys are based on nationally representative samples. Round 5 (2011-2013) covered 34 countries, but most of the questions discussed here on taxation were not asked in five North African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia).? The 29-country results presented include: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d?Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The total number of respondents in these 29 countries was 45,599. Interviews are conducted face-to-face in the language of the respondent?s choice. Previous rounds of the Afrobarometer were conducted in 1999-2001 (Round 1, 12 countries), 2002-2003 (Round 2, 16 countries), 2005-2006 (Round 3, 18 countries), and 2008-2009 (Round 4, 20 countries). For further information visit www.afrobarometer.org

[2] Alternative explanations of both how to understand tax compliance, and of the key influences shaping it, have also been put forth.? See for example an in-depth analysis of the data from just four of these countries that comes to somewhat different conclusions: Merima Ali, Odd-Helge Fjeldstad and Ingrid Hoem Sjursen, 2013, ?To Pay or Not to Pay? Citizens? Attitudes Towards Taxation in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa,? Afrobarometer Working Paper No. 143, www.afrobarometer.org.

[3] Heritage Index of Economic Freedom 2013, with relatively conservative estimates of revenue efforts and government spending, estimates Government expenditure?tax gap of 13.5% of GDP in 2011/12. http://www.heritage.org/index/explore

[4] http://www.africaneconomicoutlook.org/en/outlook/financial_flows/taxation/ (follow link to: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888932807322)

[5] http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/taxation/taxation-key-tables-from-oecd_20758510

[6] Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

[7] Pearson?s r=.150, p=.000

[8] See Samantha Richmond and Carmen Alpin, 2013, ?Governments Falter in Fight Against Corruption: The People Give Most A Failing Grade?, Afrobarometer Policy Paper No. 4, available at www.afrobarometer.org. This paper reports perceived levels of corruption across 34 countries, so the numbers are slightly different from those reported here covering 29 countries.

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