Tax administration forum supports equity – The Namibian

THE African Tax Administration Forum (Ataf) is helping tax authorities across the continent through a series of programmes designed to encourage gender-sensitive tax policies.

“Gender equality and empowerment is a priority for the Ataf – both in our operations and in the organisation.

“This is evidenced by Ataf’s Women in Tax Network (AWITN) which is a platform for change for Africa’s women working in tax,” said Ataf deputy executive secretary and head of member services and domestic resource mobilisation Mary Baine.

Currently, Ataf has 38 member countries including Namibia, South Africa, Angola and Botswana.

According to a statement issued by Ataf communications coordinator Refilwe Pitjeng yesterday, a recent Ataf research titled ‘Are Tax Policies Developed to Reduce Gender Inequality in Ataf Member Countries?’ found that legislated tax regimes tend to have inherent gender biases that particularly discriminate against women.

“The study, which looked at 16 African countries, found that even when tax policies were reformed to reduce explicit gender bias, they still contained implicit bias,” said Pitjieng.

The study also found a lack of gender-disaggregated tax administration statistics to support the quantitative gender analysis of existing and possible future tax policies. It found few women – especially at executive level – in tax administrations on the continent.

“Gender-sensitive tax policies are key because they widen the tax base, improve tax efficiency and meet the cardinal principles of taxation,” said Baine.

Gender sensitive policies also support Sustainable Development Goal five, which calls for gender equality, said Ataf.

“We are working with tax authorities in various African countries to develop frameworks to shape tax policies that address gender issues peculiar to Africa,” said Baine.

“Effective policies help us mobilise much-needed revenue to support social programmes which, in turn, ease the strain of unpaid work and increase gender-sensitive economic benefits.”

Among the organisation’s interventions to improve women’s representation in tax, AWITN includes a mentorship programme to support women during the formative stages of their careers.

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