To Pay or Not to Pay? Citizens' Views on Taxation by Local Authorities in Tanzania

"Widespread tax evasion evidenced by persistent public resistance to pay is seen as part of the problem of raising local government revenues in Tanzania. Based on data from a citizen's survey, this paper highlights factors impacting on tax compliance behaviour, by examining the views of ordinary people of local government taxation. This study shows that citizens feel that they receive little in return for taxes paid. This impacts on their willingness to pay tax and contributes to eroding people's trust in the (local) government's capacity to provide the expected services. Moreover, the study shows that the ways taxes are collected can affect citizen's attitudes towards taxation. Oppressive, uncompromising and non-transparent approaches to collecting taxes, fees and charges may actually foster tax resistance and disrespect for the laws. The study concludes that it is imperative to establish mechanisms for improving relations between the local revenue administration and citizens. Relevant measures include improvements to the billing and accounting systems, establishing more accessible and transparent payment facilities, and strengthening the capacity to follow up cases of non-payment through fair and reasonable tax enforcement."