ATAF’s cross-border taxation missions yield over USD39m

by Trevor Lutalo
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In the year 2023, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) continued to provide crucial technical assistance to its member countries in international tax matters through a series of country programs.

These initiatives, aimed at bolstering tax compliance mechanisms, involved 52 Cross-Border Taxation missions across key sectors such as agriculture, oil, mining, and telecommunications, impacting 12 countries including Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

A noteworthy aspect of ATAF’s efforts in 2023 was the emphasis on real-time audits during these missions. Approximately 73% of these missions involved real-time audits, significantly enhancing member countries’ ability to ensure tax compliance in various sectors.

The audit support missions conducted by ATAF from January to August 2023 resulted in impressive additional tax assessments. A total of USD 39.2 million was assessed, reflecting the effectiveness of the initiatives undertaken.

A substantial portion of these assessments, USD 17.7 million to be exact, was derived from transfer pricing audits during the same period. Notably, ATAF’s efforts in this regard have yielded cumulative additional tax assessments of USD 3.8 billion since 2016, with a substantial USD 1.44 billion collected from transfer pricing audits.

Impact on Uganda

Uganda, a member country of ATAF, has been a beneficiary of the organization’s technical assistance programs, which have covered both international and domestic tax matters.

Under the long-term transfer pricing technical assistance program initiated in 2015, Uganda has experienced remarkable revenue impacts; In 2017, an additional tax assessment of USD 6.7 million was made, with the same amount collected. While in 2018, assessments reached USD 30.7 million, with USD 13.37 million collected, 2019 saw a significant increase, with USD 84.1 million assessed and collected.

The year 2020 marked a substantial leap, with USD 163.1 million assessed and USD 152.3 million collected. 2021 and 2022 maintained robust performance, assessing and collecting USD 60.8 million and USD 30.7 million, respectively. In 2023, Uganda assessed an additional USD 39.2 million through transfer pricing audits, showcasing the continued impact of ATAF’s programs on revenue generation. These figures underscore the importance of international tax assistance in enhancing countries’ fiscal capacities.

ATAF’s unwavering commitment to enhancing tax compliance mechanisms and assisting member countries in international tax matters has once again yielded substantial results. The impressive additional tax assessments and collections from cross-border taxation missions and transfer pricing audits demonstrate the organization’s vital role in supporting its member countries’ revenue generation efforts. The impact of ATAF’s initiatives is evident, not only in Uganda but across the diverse set of nations it serves, contributing to the growth and development of the African continent.

About ATAF

The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) is a regional organization established in 2009 to promote cooperation and capacity-building among African tax authorities. It serves as a platform for African countries to collaborate on tax administration and revenue collection issues. ATAF’s primary goal is to help its member countries improve their tax systems, enhance revenue collection, and combat tax evasion and illicit financial flows.

ATAF facilitates knowledge sharing, best practices, and technical assistance programs to strengthen tax administration in Africa. It provides a forum for tax authorities to exchange information, conduct research, and develop strategies to address the unique challenges faced by African nations in the field of taxation.

Over the years, ATAF has played a pivotal role in harmonizing tax policies and practices across the continent, fostering transparency, and promoting international cooperation in tax matters. It has also been instrumental in advocating for African countries’ interests in global tax forums and negotiations.

ATAF’s work is vital for African nations as they seek to mobilize domestic resources, reduce dependency on foreign aid, and promote sustainable economic growth. Through its initiatives, ATAF has been a driving force in building capacity and fostering collaboration among African tax authorities, contributing to the continent’s development and self-reliance.

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