African Nations to Bear Down on International Tax Evaders

July 6, 2011 Taxation in South AfricaTaxation in TanzaniaTaxation in Zambia

South Africa to Share Tax InfoTax authorities on the African continent are stepping up their fight against tax evasion, with three countries now committing to share tax expertise, information, and resources with each other.

On July 4th the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) issued a statement, saying that three tax authorities on the African continent have now agreed to a higher level of information sharing and cooperation with the Forum in order to fight tax evasion, with a particular emphasis on compliance issues for large multinational corporations.

According to the statement, an agreement for cooperation has been reached between the South African Revenues Service, the Tanzania Revenue Authority, and the Zambia Revenue Authority. During a speech made at the beginning of June, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan explained the need for cooperation between tax authorities in Africa, saying that large multinational firms and international tax planners are repeatedly showing themselves to be “so far ahead of government tax administrators”. In order to address the shortfall in resources, the three tax authorities have also agreed that when conducting a tax audit on a large multinational firm, they will turn to the ATAF for assistance. In case the Forum finds that assistance is needed, it will organize expert counsel from another participating nation, or provide one f its own specialists.

The three tax authorities have also indicated their interest in establishing greater means of sharing information regarding taxpayers. According to tax experts, increased international cooperation in Africa will be particularly effective in fighting tax evasion, as international companies operating on the continent can be prone to engaging in aggressive transfer pricing practices between neighboring countries.

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