New ATAF strategy set to improve tax systems
ATAF Executive Secretary Logan Wort explains that it represents a set of key objectives over the five-year timeline of improving tax administration and fostering regional collaboration.
Cape Town, South Africa-The launch of the new African Tax Administration Forum Strategy (ATAF) in the new decade is set to provide a platform to improve the performance of tax systems and administration in Africa, writes Tshepiso Gabotlhomolwe.
ATAF Executive Secretary Logan Wort explains that it represents a set of key objectives over the five-year timeline of improving tax administration, fostering regional collaboration, enhancing data-driven decision making, representing African interests in global tax discussions, and promoting sustainable economic development in Africa.
He says that a year into implementation, they have managed to implement most of their mandates through the ATAF Tax Academy, which ran 11 training programs covering risk assessment, data analytics, research methodologies, transfer pricing, and basic and immediate tax audits.
He added that by the end of August 2023, ATAF will have successfully trained 710 participants from member countries and achieved 50% female representation.
He says it aided the cross-border taxation technical assistance missions focusing on key sectors such As agriculture, oil, mining, and telecommunications.
“Our efforts impacted 12 countries, including Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and more. Through the dedicated international Tax team, ATAF delivered real-time audit and legislative support, as well as comprehensive training, to these countries,” Logan said.
Out of the 52 missions, he says they have conducted 73 percent of real-time audits, enabling member countries to enhance their tax compliance mechanisms.
He notes that the positive outcomes of the audit support missions are evident in the additional tax assessments made during an eight-month period, amounting to USD 39.2 million.
Notably, he explains that USD 17.7 million was successfully collected from transfer pricing audits during the same timeframe.
Since 2016 up to date, Wort says the cumulative additional tax assessments have reached an impressive USD 3.8 billion, with USD 1.44 billion collected from transfer pricing audits.
He explained that a flourishing body of research publications based on the data provided to them by members is an enabling factor to give evidence-based insights on taxation on the continent, their most prominent being the African Tax Outlook.
Logan says that they have demonstrated technical expertise combined with the ongoing endorsement of their membership, that has resulted in sustained participation in and contribution to arrange of international, regional and even national tax and related consultations.
This he explains has enabled ATAF to play a key role in articulating the priorities of their members on various issues including the tax challenges arising from digitalization. He says that the spotlighting of African tax expertise, not just from member tax authorities, but beyond through academics, policymakers, private sector and more.
Wort highlighted that a stronger regional presence characterized by increasing engagement and cooperation with sub-regional bodies and joint initiatives with the African Union (AU).
He says that the increased collaboration with their development partners to expand the work of their organization is bearing results as they have been able to collaborate with other tax institutions.