Maybe We Should Pay Tax After All? Citizens Changing Views on Taxation in Tanzania

"Citizen's unwillingness to pay taxes and fees is considered to be a major obstacle to enhancing government revenues in Tanzania. Based on data from two citizen surveys conducted in six councils in Tanzania during 2003 and 2006, this paper aims to narrow these knowledge gaps so as to better inform taxation policy. Key questions examined i) What changes - if any - can be observed with respect to factors impacting on people's willingness to pay taxes or not? and ii)What did ordinary people consider to be the major challenges in improving the tax system in 2006 compared to 2003? The study found that people's views on taxation were much more positive in 2006 compared to three years earlier. This is partly due to improvements in service delivery, particularly education, health, and law and order, and partly due to reforms which have led to less oppressive revenue collection. Corruption was perceived by citizens to be a major problem in both surveys, with implications for their trust in government institutions and officials, and thus, their willingness to pay taxes and fees. One clear conclusion from the surveys is that citizens demand tougher actions against corrupt officials. There is also an increasing demand from citizens for more information on revenues collected and how the revenues are spent."