Salone urged to implement tax transparency and EOI
Sierra Leone, Freetown: Sierra Leone is not a member of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes and also a non-user of Exchange of Information on Request (EOIR) according to a new report.
Even though some elements of an EOI infrastructure are in place, the report encourages Sierra Leone to consider joining the Global Forum and implementing the international tax transparency and EOI standards to strengthen its domestic resource mobilisation through the fight against tax evasion and other Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).
The Tax Transparency in Africa report, published annually, is a key output of the Africa Initiative. It provides comparable statistics on tax transparency as one of African countries’ responses to the challenge of IFFs from Africa, estimated to be in the range of USD 50-80 billion annually, and is, therefore, a key information source for decision-makers and citizens.
The report stressed that, exchange of information remains a priority for African countries. One of the starting points in building the foundation of a sustainable EOI function is to make EOI a priority and therefore design a strategy to utilise it in tax compliance activities of the tax administration.
Among the respondents to the TTiA 2021 survey, the number of countries giving a high priority to EOI remains high and stable while the number of countries attaching a low priority has decreased.
Six new countries (Angola, Congo, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe) provided their inputs for the first time on this item with a high level of priority for three of them and a medium level for one.
Not only is their participation to the survey a positive sign but the high level of priority granted to EOI is promising. While one might have thought that tax administrations would have changed their priorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of them have maintained EOI as a high priority.
This is likely due to the fact that most African countries are now aware that EOI is a powerful instrument for DRM, particularly necessary to meet the needs generated by the health crisis and its economic consequences.
For the countries that lowered the level of priority given to EOI, the COVID-19 related measures such as focusing on relief measures to support taxpayers rather than audits, could have played a role.
Thirty-four African countries completed the survey for this report: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Eswatini, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. ZIJ/13/9/2021