This report analyses Tanzania’s tax policies and how much revenue the country is losing from tax evasion, capital flight and tax incentives. It shows that, every year, a vast amount of potential tax revenue that could be used to reduce poverty is failing to end up in the government treasury; much is simply leaving the country.
Increasing the revenues available to the government is especially critical during the current global financial crisis when countries are even more vulnerable to shocks. The issue of fair taxes is also vital in light of future income from Tanzania’s recently-discovered oil and gas. Although the government is taking some steps to improve tax collections, Tanzania needs a more radical approach to raising sufficient tax revenues. It is hoped that this report, which makes several recommendations to the government, will help in this process.
Tanzania collected TShs 4.5 trillion ($2.8 billion) in taxes in 2009/10. Of these, around 30 per cent came each from Value Added Tax (VAT) and income tax while excise duties accounted for around 18 per cent and import duties for around 9 per cent. Tax collections amount to only around 15 per cent of GDP in Tanzania, lower than 19 per cent in neighbouring Kenya and around 30 per cent in developed countries.