Tax incentives, exemptions to be discussed

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Tax incentives, exemptions and efforts to harmonise tax policy will form part of discussions at a meeting of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) next week, said the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

ATAF, which consists of revenue authorities from 34 African countries, will hold its second general assembly meeting in Dakar, Senegal at which the Senegalese Minister of Finance Amadou Kane will open the meeting on Tuesday. SARS' Commissioner who is also the current ATAF chairperson will address the assembly.

"High-level tax policy experts and practitioners will address ATAF delegates on the current research on tax incentives as well as country experiences with tax incentives. ATAF members will also discuss the important issue of efforts to harmonise tax policy," said SARS.

Studies have highlighted the continent's potential for growth and development with growth expected to accelerate to 4.5% in 2012 and 4.8% in 2013.

The effectiveness and efficiency of revenue authorities remains a key challenge for African countries to optimise the potential revenue inflows from the renewed interest in Africa as an investment destination while improving overall tax administration to collect tax.

Other matters to be discussed include the finalisation of a treaty on mutual assistance and exchange of information to combat revenue leakages across the continent.

At a meeting, ATAF acting executive secretary Logan Wort said that although Africa was experiencing increased growth in trade and investment, the continent should broaden its tax base to create sustainable revenue collection.

"Clearly we must aim to at least increase another 4% of GDP in the next five years to create some form of sustainable revenue collection and growth in domestic revenue," he said at the time.

ATAF was launched in Kampala, Uganda, in November 2009 to improve the performance of African revenue authorities to become more effective and efficient, to enhance economic growth and increase accountability of the state to its citizens. - SAnews.gov.za

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