ATAF Releases Guide for Implementing Voluntary Disclosure Programme, Offering Crucial Insights and Guidance to African Tax Administrations

by Business Times
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As African nations grapple with the imperative to enhance revenue generation, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) unveils its latest guide, providing comprehensive guidance on implementing Voluntary Disclosure Programmes (VDPs). Tailored to the African regional perspective, this guide addresses the urgent need for efficient revenue collection mechanisms.

The guide, titled “ATAF Guide on Implementation of Voluntary Disclosure Programme,” shows how VDPs can be a pivotal tool in encouraging non-compliant taxpayers to regularize their tax affairs voluntarily.

Drawing on examples from ATAF member countries like South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, the guide highlights the tangible outcomes of implementing VDPs. From significant disclosures of foreign assets to substantial increases in tax revenues, as well as the opportunity to enhance compliance by bringing taxpayers into the formal tax base, these examples underscore the potential of VDPs in diverse African contexts. The opportunity offered by implementing a VDP can be significant, and developing countries including those in Africa, have identified billions in additional tax assessments through VDPs and offshore tax investigations since 2009.

By offering insights into the benefits, costs, and policy design choices associated with VDPs, this publication equips policy makers and tax administrations with the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of revenue collection.

The guide includes Suggested Approach to Drafting VDP legislation that countries can tailor to their own circumstances.  The guide is intentionally designed to be a simple and practical tool and comes with explanatory notes to assist law-makers and administrations. It provides practical insights into key considerations such as eligibility criteria, duration of the programme, and confidentiality protocols, tailored to the African context.

“We believe that this guide will serve as a valuable resource for African tax administrations, empowering them to implement effective VDPs tailored to their unique contexts,” emphasized Mr. Logan Wort, Executive Secretary of ATAF.

This guide is part of ATAF’s wider strategy to support African countries in tackling tax evasion, an important component of illicit financial flows. The release of this guide underscores ATAF’s commitment to supporting African tax administrations in navigating the evolving landscape of revenue mobilization. By equipping tax authorities with practical guidance, ATAF aims to foster sustainable revenue generation across the African continent.

Click here to download the ATAF Guide for Implementing Voluntary Disclosure Programme.

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