ATAF Unveils 2023 Annual Report highlighting significant achievements

by Business Times
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The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has published its 2023 annual report, highlighting the substantial progress and key milestones achieved in the first year of its 2023-2027 Strategic Plan. The ATAF Strategic plan aims to bolster tax administration, enhance regional collaboration, provide crucial data for evidence based decision-making, amplify Africa’s voice in global tax policy, and ensure financial sustainability for the organisation to support its membership in tax efficiency.

ATAF’s initiatives in 2023 led to enhancements in Africa’s tax landscape, increased revenue assessment and collections, and strengthened collaboration with stakeholders globally and continentally, contributing to long-term economic development through legislative, structural, procedural, and administrative reforms among its members.

 The key highlights include the execution of 20 training programs that attracted 2,053 participants from 47 countries, alongside conducting 180 technical assistance missions in 35 countries. This support enabled its members to issue new tax assessments of USD 1.41 billion, with USD 620 million collected through audits. This success builds on the cumulative efforts since 2016, bringing total  tax assessments to-date to USD 4.75 billion and collections to USD 1.92 billion.

To  better protect their tax bases, six countries revised their international tax and transfer pricing policies based on ATAF’s recommendations, leading to significant legislative changes. In addition, nine member countries underscored an increase in the tax-to-GDP, which attests to ATAF’s efforts in advancing tax administration and revenue mobilization across the continent. The organization’s success in 2023 owes much to fruitful partnerships and innovative collaborations with regional and international organizations, and a receptive membership.

ATAF continued to lead in addressing gender inequality in taxation by hosting the second gender leadership conference in Mozambique. The event, titled “The role of tax policy and leadership in addressing gender inequality in Africa,” drew over 379 participants, underscoring the importance of inclusive tax policies. Furthering this commitment, ATAF launched the second ATAF Women  in Tax (AWITN) mentorship programme, pairing 45 mentors and mentees from 13 African countries and various segments of the tax industry, including tax administration, the private sector, and academia.

ATAF continued to play a pivotal role in providing valuable insights for its members in data, statistics, and analysis. The release of the 2022 African Tax Outlook on 26 July 2023 was a significant milestone. This comprehensive publication included contributions from 37 countries, compiling extensive macroeconomic, customs, and tax administration data from 2010 to 2022.

At the global level, ATAF’s visibility continues to grow through its  role in articulating the key priorities for African countries. The organization’s active participation in international tax standard-setting meetings significantly contributed to the global conversation on critical issues both at the UN and OECD led reforms. To address various tax administration and policy standards, ATAF developed nine technical notes, guidelines, and toolkits adopted by nine member countries. Notable examples include the implementation of the Domestic Minimum Top-up Tax (DMTT) in Eswatini, demonstrating the organization’s global influence and significance.

Moreover, ATAF’s active participation in the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) meeting of the African Union and the second STC Subcommittee on Tax and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) highlighted its strategic partnership with the AUC which is firmly leading tax policy on the continent, while ATAF remains its technical adviser. Working closely with the African Union Commission (AUC) and other key partners like TJNA and UNECA, ATAF continued to actively support drafting the UN work in the promotion of international tax cooperation.

“The 2023 Annual Report showcases ATAF’s achievements, successes, and impact across its member countries and reaffirms our steadfast commitment to strengthening Africa’s tax landscape,” remarked Mr. Logan Wort, Executive Secretary of ATAF. “In navigating the complexities of taxation, this report serves as a testament to our unwavering dedication to collaborative solutions and our resolute drive to foster sustainable economic growth across the continent. ATAF remains resolute in its mission, pioneering innovative initiatives, shaping progressive policies, and propelling Africa towards a future defined by prosperity and equitable development,” he affirmed.

The ATAF 2023 Annual Report is available here.

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