NGO reports on tax

Tax Us If You Can (Tax Justice Network, 2005)

Tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax havens are presented here as a ‘global failure’ which can be changed. The report explains the terms used in the social justice-based debates concerning taxation; maps the key players in tax injustice and the agencies who influence tax policy worldwide; and proposes a broad range of solutions to the problems identified. It serves as a guide to tax justice issues.

Closing the Floodgates (Tax Justice Network, 2007)

This report links taxation closely with development, by estimating the losses accruing to developing countries due to illicit capital flight. It also looks in detail at the practices used by companies, individuals, governments, professional intermediaries and tax havens. The report takes a stance towards ‘closing the floodgates’ and turning the tide on tax dodging.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Most Corrupt of All? (Tax Justice Network, 2007)

Tackling the debate concerning global corruption, the report criticises the unique focus of governments and international organisations on bribery while ignoring the corrupt practices of the intermediaries: the major banks, accounting firms and lawyers, and secrecy jurisdiction governments.

A Guide to Tax Work for NGOs (International Budget Partnership, 2006)

The guide makes a case for further civil society engagement with tax policy, by drawing concrete examples from various countries and by looking at the basic issues in tax policy. The guide links to existing work on budget transparency and accountability, shows how the expenditure and revenue sides of the budget need to be analysed together, and provides some tools for analysis.

Death andTaxes:TheTrueToll ofTax Dodging (Christian Aid, 2008)

This report looks at the impact of tax dodging, both legal and illegal,
on the developing world. It blames the secrecy offered by more than 70 tax havens for widespread abuses, and highlights the role of facilitators, including the big accountancy firms, in promoting their use.

Accounting for Poverty (ActionAid, 2009)

This report looks at a range of issues affecting developing countries’ ability to raise taxes effectively, including tax dodging, tax competition, and treaties with tax havens. It includes examples from a number of developing countries as well as policy recommendations.

Where on Earth are You? (Tax Justice Network/SOMO, 2009)

This report surveys 97 of the largest quoted companies in the UK, the Netherlands and France. Of those companies, all but one was found to have tax haven subsidiaries.

The Netherlands aTax Haven? (SOMO, 2006)

According to empirical evidence, the Netherlands deliberately offers companies who would not otherwise seek to be resident within its territory the means to reduce their tax charges on interest, royalties, dividend and capital gains income from foreign subsidiaries – thus effectively acting as a tax haven.

Taxation and State-Building in Developing Countries: Capacity and Consent (D Bräutigam, O-H Fjeldstad and M Moore, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

This edited volume provides an overview of the linkages between taxation and development by some of the most experienced academic authors in the field. The book assesses how governments become more accountable when responding to a broad base of taxpayers, making the link between representation and taxation both in historical and current terms – effective revenue collection is also a central pillar of state capacity – and draws conclusions for policy-makers.

False Profits: Robbing the Poor to Keep the Rich Tax Free (Christian Aid, 2009)

This paper considers how financial systems allow practices such as ‘trade mispricing’ to continue and looks at some of the consequences of tax avoidance. It quantifies the damage done to individual countries through trade mispricing, by analysing EU and US trade data and estimating the amount of capital shifted from non-EU countries into the EU, the US, the UK and Ireland through bilateral trade mispricing. It’s massive.

Illicit Financial Flows from Africa: Hidden Resources for Development (Global Financial Integrity, 2010)

The report assesses the total stock of illicit financial flows from Africa between the years 1970 and 2008 as being US$854 billion, larger than the continent’s amount of public debt. Using these resources for development, the continent could meet its developmental targets under the United Nations millennium development goals (MDGs).

Breaking the Curse: HowTransparentTaxation and FairTaxes CanTurn Africa’s Mineral Wealth into Development (Southern Africa Resource Watch, Third World Network Africa, Tax Justice Network Africa, ActionAid and Christian Aid, 2009)

This paper looks at mining taxation and transparency in seven African countries: Ghana, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It explores the various strategies that mining companies use to reduce their tax bill.

A Golden Opportunity: How Tanzania is Failing to Benefit from Gold Mining (Christian Council of Tanzania, National Council of Muslims in Tanzania andTanzania Episcopal Conference, 2008)

Gold-mining in Tanzania is operating under minimal public scrutiny, is riddled with corruption and contributes a pittance to public revenue. Mining operations barely benefit local populations and in fact leave many people poorer than they were before.

Sierra Leone at the Crossroads: Seizing the Chance to Benefit from Mining (NACE – National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives, 2009)

Mining companies routinely deprive African nations of revenue that could be used to combat poverty. This report details how Sierra Leone recently earned only US$9–10 million from mineral exports of US$179 million.

Taxation and Development in Ghana: Finance, Equity and Accountability (Tax Justice Network/ISODEC, 2009)

This report answers questions on the link between taxation and development, on whether or not revenue is collected equally from all residents and on why companies should be given tax concessions. The report demonstrates that domestic resources, not loans or aid, is the largest missing piece in reaching development goals.

Taxation and State Building in Kenya: Enhancing Revenue Capacity to Advance Human Welfare (Tax Justice Network Africa, 2009)

This report studies the evolution of the Kenyan tax system, and considers ways to foster economic and social development by improving revenue collection. The report concludes that broadening the tax base and engaging citizens in a tax dialogue should be the key priorities.

Building a Fair,Transparent and InclusiveTax System in Sierra Leone (W Prichard, 2011)

This report provides an overview of the political economy of the tax system in Sierra Leone in order to support more extensive and informed public debate and advocacy around tax issues. It draws on a combination of official data, published sources and a wide array of interviews conducted with policy-makers and other stakeholders.

Tax Justice Network Africa Popular Educational Materials on Taxation

  • Providing a Better Understanding of Equitable Taxation (2011)
  • Domestic Revenue Mobilization through Taxation (2011)
  • Taxation and Democracy (2011)

Un Vide à Combler: Quelle Fiscalité dans une Economie Mondialisée? (CIDSE – International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity, 2008)

This document looks at how church groups across the world are linking taxation to development. It presents taxation as both a challenge for many governments to mobilise, and also as an opportunity for meeting the MDGs. The authors argue for greater autonomy for developing country governments as a result of greater mobilisation of domestic resources, and the links to be made with the corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda.

Undermining the Poor: Mineral Taxation Reforms in Latin America (Christian Aid, 2009)

This report examines the tax reforms affecting the mineral sector in Latin America. It quantifies the costs of some of the excessively generous tax incentives which have been provided to mining companies in Peru, Guatemala and Honduras. It also tracks the efforts of civil society to reverse these regressive taxation trends.(Also available in Spanish)

Rights or Privileges? Fiscal Commitments to the Rights to Health, Education and Food in Guatemala (ICEFI and CESR, 2009)

Guatemala is a country with one of the lowest levels of tax collection and very low levels of social spending. This report aims to contribute to a broad reflection on the role of fiscal policy in complying with a state’s human rights obligations. It documents Guatemala’s alarming social indicators and demonstrates that this poor performance is due to the lack of political will of successive governments of this middle-income country to maximise its resources and invest equitably in guaranteeing the basic needs of its citizens. (Also available in Spanish)

Seguridad Fiscal en El Salvador: Medidas por Fortalecer la Tributación (FUNDE, 2008)

This publication reviews the tax system in El Salvador and looks at how tax policy has evolved since 1990. It provides information on legislation, relevant institutions, evolving levels of tax collection and tax evasion. It also looks at attempts to reform – particularly with regard to addressing tax evasion, tax avoidance and smuggling – assessing the overall picture of fiscal sustainability in the country.

El Sistema Tributaria en la República Dominicana (Centro de Estudios Sociales P. Juan Montalvo, 2010)

This publication reviews the tax system in the Dominican Republic, presenting information on key legislation, institutions, levels of tax collection and the evolution of tax policy. It also assesses, among other key issues, the regressive nature of the tax system.

Reforma Tributária Desmonta o Financiamiento das Políticas Sociais, Briefing Paper (INESC, 2009)

This technical briefing paper provides an overview of the Brazilian tax system, presenting key evidence of the regressive nature of the tax system, including the cost of incentives provided to business and the increasing tax burden on the poor. It provides information on Brazil’s recent tax policy reforms and the work of civil society organisations to influence reforms.

Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance and Tax Revenue Loss in India: A Report Towards Creation of Public Awareness and Action (Centre for Education and Communication, India, 2010)

The report looks at the rampant tax evasion and tax avoidance as practised by both domestic and global corporations in India, and at the extent of tax exemptions that already rise to over 70 per cent of total tax revenues. More equitable and transparent tax policies could end poverty and meet development objectives, and the realisation of fundamental rights. The report also looks at the special role of the secrecy jurisdiction of Mauritius in India’s economy, being the primary source of foreign direct investment.

Networks and organisations working on tax


Tax Justice Network: Christian Aid:
Publish What You Pay:
UN Tax Committee:


Tax Justice Network Africa:
AFRODAD (Africa):
ISODEC (Ghana):
African Development Bank:
Poder Ciudadano (Latin America):
Latindadd (Latin America):
ICEFI – Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales (Guatemala):
Inter-American Development Bank:
Action for Economic Reforms (Asia):
Jubilee South/Asia-Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (Asia-Pacific):
Eurodad (EU):


Center for Budget Advocacy (ISODEC Ghana advocacy unit, see:
National Taxpayers Association (Kenya):
Institute of Economic Affairs (Kenya):
Policy Forum (Tanzania):
National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives (Sierra Leone):
Centre for Trade Policy and Development – CTPD (Zambia)
INESC – Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (Brazil):
FUNDE – Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo (El Salvador):
SUPRO – Campaign for Good Governance (Bangladesh):
Foundation for Public Economics and Policy Research (India):
Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability – CBGA (India):
Oxfam France:
Oxfam Novib (the Netherlands):
CCFD (France – Comité Catholique contre la Faim et pour le Développement):
MISEREOR (overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany):
KEPA (Finland – Service Centre for Development Cooperation):
Forum Syd (Sweden):
Norwegian Church Aid:
Tax Analysts (US):
Citizens for Tax Justice (US):

Some useful websites on tax

OECD: Centre for Tax Policy and Administration:,3355,en_2649_34897_1_1_1_1_1,00.html
Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex, UK):
International Tax Compact (Germany):
International Tax Dialogue:
International Budget Partnership (US):
Chr. Michelsen Institute (Norway):
CERDI (Centre for Studies and Research on International Development – France):
IMF Fiscal Affairs Department:
UNDP South-South Sharing of Successful Tax Practices: practices-s4tp