Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Policy Roundtable on Harmful Tax Competition in East Africa

From TJN-Africa:

TJN-Africa and Action Aid International Kenya are hosting a Policy Roundtable on Harmful Tax Competition in East Africa to be held in Nairobi on July 27th and July 28th. The Roundtable will bring together national and regional policy-makers, policy analysts, civil society actors and other stakeholders to discuss the issue of harmful tax competition and the policy alternatives East African Community (EAC) countries can use to combat this.

You can see the Concept Note here, and the Agenda here.

The Concept Note explains:
Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A) and Action Aid International Kenya (AAIK) commissioned studies in four of the East Africa Community (EAC) countries, with a view to understanding the rationale for and nature of tax incentives used by these governments, as well as contribute to the ongoing debate on the harmful aggregate consequences of tax competition and the tax harmonisation process in the EAC.

The TJN-A and the AAI now propose to hold a regional policy round table on July 27th and 28th in Nairobi in order to critically review the findings and recommendations of the final Rwanda country report, and the draft country and regional reports for Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and the EAC respectively. The policy roundtable will provide a platform for high-level discussion on the nature, impact, and means of alleviating harmful tax competition in East Africa, including through tax harmonisation and the proposed Code of Conduct against Harmful Tax Competition and the Model Agreement on Double Taxation Avoidance.

Invited participants will include regional and national policy makers, including members of the EAC Council of Ministers, EAC Secretariat, representatives from revenue authorities and relevant government ministries, as well as civil society actors, SME Associations, academics engaged in tax policy and administration, and private sector tax practitioners.


The purpose of this Policy Roundtable is to:
  • Critically consider the extent, nature, and impact of investment incentives in East Africa;
  • To critically review the draft reports of the TJN-A and AAIK studies in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania on harmful tax competition in the region;
  • Critically discuss emerging issues relating to the ongoing tax harmonisation process at the regional level; and
  • Critically consider lessons learned and best practice from the region and elsewhere (for example the use of tax expenditure analysis, experience in contending with tax competition in other regional economic communities).
Expected Outcomes
The Policy Roundtable proposes to achieve the following outcomes:
  • Shared analysis and understanding of the tax policy issues relating to tax incentives and the impact of harmful tax competition on the economic and social development of member states; and
  • Develop innovative and politically feasible recommendations on how to contend with harmful tax competition and rationalise the use of tax incentives in order to further enhance the objectives of generating employment, increasing equality and meaningfully reduce poverty.

The agenda includes:

East African Experiences with Tax Incentives
This session will contextualize the use of tax incentives in investment policy, both the historical and current thinking on the use of tax incentives, and highlight country experiences on the use of tax incentives in East Africa.

Alternative Experiences with Tax Incentives
This session will consider steps individual countries have taken in order to rationalise the use of tax incentives, including their monitoring and evaluation (e.g. the use of tax expenditures and public debate).

Contending with Harmful Tax Competition at the Regional Level
This session will address challenges and opportunities of addressing harmful tax competition at the regional level, including consideration of what instruments need to be harmonised, why and to what extent, the impact of tax harmonisation on tax sovereignty, an update of the draft Code of Conduct on Tax Harmonisation, and lessons learned from other regional economic communities.

Mapping the Way Ahead
Underlining the challenges, successes, and proposed actions to be taken at the national and regional level and consider future prospects for tax harmonization and combating of tax competition in the EAC


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