Developments in the Use of Technologies in African Tax Administrations
Authors: Jeffrey Owens and Bernd Schlenther
Affiliations: Head: Global Tax Policy Centre (GTPC) at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law of the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU); Independent expert and extraordinary lecturer at the African Tax Institute (ATI) of the University of Pretoria (UP)
Source: African Multidisciplinary Tax Journal, 2022 Issue 1, p. 1-22
A substantial number of sub-Saharan African tax administrations have seen efficiency gains by adopting online systems for tax filing and payment. However, the adoption of technology for the automation of tax administration has been markedly slow in comparison to the pace of adoption in developed countries. For African countries’ drive toward domestic resource mobilisation to be successful, automation of core processes is fundamental and the adoption of standards in international cooperation, improving data quality and promoting fiscal decentralisation. This article demonstrates that while much progress has been made in automation, Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool assessments still illustrate several gaps experienced by tax administrations in compliance risk management, statistical analysis, bulk data analysis, and the quality of data. As ref lected in stagnant tax gross domestic product ratios, without mitigating these risks and not seizing opportunities offered by instruments such as the exchange of information standards, advances made in automation run the risk of being nullified eventually. Therefore, African tax administrations need a digital roadmap and a set of metrics to measure their progress in automation.