November 19, 2019, Kampala, Uganda – Over 450 representatives of Tax Administrations, Ministries of Finance, Private Sector firms, Tax Researchers, Media and Civil Society organisations from 24 different countries met in Kampala, Uganda today at the 4th International Conference on Tax in Africa (ICTA). The event was officially launched by H.E. Yoweri Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda.
ATAF was established by African revenue authorities in November 2009, to improve the performance of tax administrations in Africa. ATAF believes that better tax administration will enhance economic growth, increase accountability of the state to its citizens, and more effectively mobilise domestic resources. Now in its 10th year of existence, ATAF has positioned itself as Africa’s homegrown solution to improving revenue collection, advancing the role of taxation in governance and state-building and providing a voice to the continent on international tax issues.
In the past 10 years ATAF has trained over 15 000 tax officials, raised USD 1.1 billion in assessments, of which USD260 million have already been collected, as additional tax revenues for its members. The organisation, through its technical assistance programmes, has also assisted members with the revision of key tax legislations, including on transfer pricing, which have helped them increase their revenues from the taxation of multinationals.
The choice of Kampala for ATAF’s 10th Anniversary is of high significance. The city birthed the organisation 10 years ago, on the same date and that inaugural meeting too was officiated by H.E. Yuweri Museveni, both in his capacity of President of Uganda and then President of the African Union (AU).
As ATAF celebrates its pas 10 years, its members are already bracing themselves for the challenges of the next decade, one of which is the taxation of the digital economy, hence the theme of the 4th International Conference on Tax in Africa: “ Innovation-Digitalisation and harnessing technology to improve tax systems
Indeed, digitalisation raises numerous concerns for African countries and many others, over how taxing rights on income generated from cross border transactions should be allocated between jurisdictions. African countries are generally source countries and they tax on a source basis. ATAF members often report that they consider the current nexus and profits allocation rules as weighted too heavily in favour of the residence jurisdiction to the detriment of the source (African) jurisdiction.
These countries are also concerned that their tax bases are being eroded by Illicit Financial Flows due to MNEs artificially shifting profits to jurisdictions where the profit are subject to little or no tax.
The Kampala gathering is therefore also an opportunity for ATAF members to strategize over these challenges and ensure that this time around, Africa is dealt a fair hand.
The 10th Anniversary Celebration dinner will be held at the Serena Hotel Kampala, in the evening of the 19th November 2019.