The centre for tax analysis in developing countries

Overseas Development Institue Institue for Fiscal Studies

Tax expenditures are departures from the normal rules of the tax system that benefit particular activities or groups of taxpayers, including tax exemptions, tax credits, deductions and lower tax rates. They are usually introduced with the aim of providing financial support or financial incentives to the activities and groups benefitting from them. 

Tax expenditure reporting is vital to ensure that these policies can be scrutinised in the same way as public spending. Without information on the provisions that exist and their cost, how can parliaments and wider society even start an informed debate about whether this is money well spent? And knowing the costs of these provisions is the first step in a more comprehensive analysis of their effectiveness, impacts and potential wider costs and benefits. 

TaxDev is supporting our partner countries to develop and improve their tax expenditure reporting regimes through a combination of formal workshops and joint work. This page brings together our workshop materials and practical insights on this vital topic, as well as links to our partners’ tax expenditure reports. 

Tax expenditure workshop materials

On 6th February 2023, the TaxDev team and almost 20 officials from ministries of finance and revenue authorities in Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Rwanda and Uganda gathered in Kampala for a three-day workshop on tax expenditure analysis and reporting. The workshop provided an introduction to the principles and practice of tax expenditure analysis and reporting, with lively debate and practical exercises showing some of the complexities involved in analysing trade tax, VAT, and personal and corporate income tax expenditures. 

You find out more information about the content of the workshop on this page, and download a comprehensive set of presentations and practical exercises. We hope that these materials will be useful for others planning similar activities.

Insights and lessons learned

TaxDev researchers have written a number of reports and blog posts based on our experience working with our partners on tax expenditure reporting. These include:

•    A report on the practical challenges and lessons learned from tax expenditure reporting, and an accompanying blog

•    A blog on the three key takeways from the TaxDev tax expenditure workshop

•    A blog on the how tax exemptions can sometimes increase revenues

•    A blog on how tax expenditures can affect revenues over multiple years

Our partners’ reports

Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda publish detailed tax expenditure reports with the support of the TaxDev team. You can access the information about the latest reports below:

•    Ethiopia

•    Rwanda

•    Uganda


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