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Debate on Illicit Financial Flows to steal limelight at 2nd International Conference on Tax in Africa

Debate on Illicit Financial Flows to steal limelight at 2nd International Conference on Tax in Africa

Tax administrators from all over Africa are set to meet from 20 to 22 October 2015 in Lomé, Togo under the auspices of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the premier tax organisation on the continent, which holds its 2nd International Conference on Tax in Africa (2ICTA).

The gathering of African revenue commissioners will be hosted by Mr Henry Gaperi, the Commissioner General of the Office Togolais des Recettes (OTR).

Running under the much talked about theme “Tax Compliance and Limiting Illicit Financial Flows” discussions will be centred on curbing the non-compliance of taxpayers and answering the big question of how this can be attributed to Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

The conference hopes to unpack the various structures associated with IFFs and how their impact may be minimised on the continent.

Speaking ahead of the conference, ATAF Chairman and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Commissioner General Mr Gershem Pasi said: “In Togo, we look forward to discuss raising domestic revenue capabilities and mobilisation strategies for Africa.”

“This important conference will consider drivers of tax compliance and illicit financial flows as key revenue risk mitigating factors for Africa,” said The Executive Secretary of ATAF Mr Logan Wort.

According to the Africa Economic Outlook of 2015, 65% of all IFFs occur through international commercial transactions that include tax evasion, trade mis-invoicing and abusive transfer pricing, which involve mainly multinational corporations.

Recognising the importance of the report on IFFs from Africa produced by the Thabo Mbeki High-Level Panel, ATAF grasped the urgency with which African countries should collaborate to ensure the stemming of IFFs from the continent.

Examining the link between issues of tax compliance and illicit financial flows and exploring possible recommendations for African tax policy and administration to effectively counter their negative impact will thus form the basis of discussions at the 2ICTA conference in Lomé.

The conference will discuss strategies of increasing voluntary compliance which is an essential component among the building blocks of modern tax administrations. As identified in the ATAF Report on Good Tax Governance of 2011, developing a culture of compliance requires that tax administrations view and treat taxpayers first as clients rather than tax evaders and avoiders.

Well-defined and well-executed educational campaigns by tax administrations through the media and other new technologies can greatly help in ensuring that taxpayers understand and accept the compliance requirements.

However, the most important objective of these measures taken is that clients must understand that the cost of dodging taxes and the risk of getting caught is high, and penalties must be applied when evasion is detected.

Speakers and panellists at the conference will be Heads of African Tax Administrations and Senior Officials of African Ministries of Finance, while representatives of international and continental organisations, as well as from the private sector, civil society and academic institutions, are also invited to contribute to the understanding of the issues at hand.

The ICTA conferences alternate annually with the ATAF General Assemblies. Past themes of these gatherings have been on “The International and Domestic Aspects of Tax Fraud, Evasion and Avoidance” in Mauritius in 2011; “Challenges of Tax Sovereignty, Competition and Cooperation: The Benefits and Risks of Tax Incentives and Exemptions for Economic Development in Africa” in Senegal in 2012; “The Taxation of Natural Resources in Africa” in Zimbabwe in 2013; and “Rethinking Leadership and Management Strategies in the African Tax Agenda” in Tanzania in 2014.

For more information, please visit the ATAF website at www.ataftax.org or contact

Taungana Ndoro on [email protected] or +27 12 415 8807 #