Semi-autonomous revenue authorities for successful implementation of tax administration reform

Ghebretsadk, A. F. (Abraham Fissehaye) (2003-12)

Thesis (MPA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is a growing tendency towards the establishment of semi-autonomous revenue authorities to collect taxes on behalf of the government. This is necessary for the efficient tax collection by which the state finances its administrative organs. Tax administration as part of the general civil service has suffered due to budget restrictions, inefficiency and corruption resulting from the mere characteristics of the field of public administration. As a remedy, modern tax administrations are now introducing the principles and methods used in the private sector. The trend in public administration, thus, seems to be towards autonomy and professionalization. Strengthening tax administration is thus critical to the successful implementation of the whole tax system. Tax administration, to be successful, needs the simplification of tax policy, commitment at the political and managerial level, and the existence of a comprehensive set of strategies. There is evidence that the creation of semi-autonomous tax authorities has enabled some developing countries to dramatically increase tax revenue. These semi-autonomous revenue authorities are created with the aim of generating additional revenue, improving the tax system and ensuring more equitable taxation. The revenue authorities' model keeps the better employees by better compensation, is flexible in human resources management, integrates tax operations, and is flexibile in budget management. Despite their similarity in objective there are some variations of organizational design of revenue authorities from country to country, with differences in their legal foundation, governance structures, staffing, funding basis, and internal organization. However, there are arguments against semi-autonomous revenue authorities and that they are not a panacea of tax administration. The arguments against the revenue authorities' model are higher costs, discontent of the wider civil service (because of inequities of salary), risks involved in the autonomy, potential for corruption, sustainability and necessity. Nevertheless, the advantages of revenue authorities weigh more than the disadvantages. To overcome the disadvantages of semiautonomous revenue authorities, there should be a clearly defined relationship between the government and the revenue authorities, there should be an appropriate regulatory framework and public accountability, and the structure should be as simple as possible.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Daar is 'n groeiende tendens na die totstandkoming van semi-outonome inkomste owerhede om belasting namens die regering in te vorder. Dit is nodig vir die doeltreffende invordering van belasting deur middel waarvan die staat sy administratiewe organe finansier. Belasting administrasie, as deel van die algemene staatsdiens het gely deur begrotingsbeperkings, ondoeltreffendheid en korrupsie wat voortvloei uit die blote kenmerke van die gebied van die openbare administrasie. As 'n remedie, is moderne belasting administrasies besig om die beginsels en metodiek wat in die privaat sector gebruik word in te voer. Die tendens in publieke administrasie is dus gerig op outonomiteit en professionalisme. Die versterking van belasting administrasie is dus krieties vir die suksesvolle implimentering van die hele belastingsisteem. Belasting administrasie, om suksesvol te wees, benodig die vereenvoudiging van belasting beleid, verbondenheid op politieke en bestuursvlak en die bestaan van 'n omvattende stel strategieë. Daar is getuienis dat die totstandkoming van semi-outonome belastingowerhede het sekere ontwikkelende lande in staat gestelom dramaties die belasting inkomste te vermeerder. Hierdie semi-outonome inkomste owerhede is tot stand gebring met die doelom addisionele inkomste te genereer, die belastingsisteem te verbeter en om meer billike belastingte verseker. Die belastingowerhede model behou die beter werknemers deur middel van beter kompensasie, is buigsaam t.o.v. menslike hulpbronbestuur, integreer belastingsprosesse en is buigsaam in begrotingsbestuur. Nieteenstaande hul eendersheid t.o.v die doelwitte, is daar wel variasies van organisasie ontwerp van belastingowerhede van land tot land, met verskille in hul regsgrondslag, "governance" strukture, personeelvoorsiening, basis van bevondsing en die interne organisasie. Daar is wel argumente teen semi-outonome belastingowerhede en dat hulle nie die wondermiddel vir belasting administrasie is nie. Die argumente teen die belastingowerhede model is dié van hoer kostes, ontevredenheid van die breë openbare administrasie (weens die onbillikheid van salarisse), die risko verbondce aan die outonomiteit, die potensiaal vir korrupsie, volhoubaarheid en noodsaaklikheid. Desnieteenstaande, die voordele van belastingowerhede weeg sterker as die nadele. Om die nadele te oorkom, moet daar 'n duidelike uiteengesette verhouding tussen die regering en die belastingowerhede wees, daar moet 'n toepaslike regulerende raamwerk en openbare toerekenbaarheid en die struktuuer moet so eenvoudig moontlik wees.

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