Taxation of Self-Employed Professionals in Africa: Three Lessons from a Kenyan Case Study

Ogembo, D., "Taxation of Self-Employed Professionals in Africa: Three Lessons from a Kenyan Case Study" [2020] (Institute of Development Studies) ICTD African Tax Administration Working Paper Series, WP 17.

19 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2021

See all articles by Daisy Ogembo

Daisy Ogembo

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 2020

Abstract

We currently know very little about the taxation of professionals in Africa– scholarly work on this group of taxpayers is scant. The little research that does exist is located within the literature on the taxation of the 'hard-to-tax', a term in tax evasion literature that refers to farmers, small and medium-sized enterprises, and professionals. However, scholarly discourse on the hard-to-tax in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa, has focused primarily on farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises. Professionals are rarely critically considered, despite the acknowledgement in the literature that, considering their potential earnings, the absolute amount involved in evasion by professionals in low- and middle-income countries is probably higher than farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises. This paper begins from the premise that it is sensible to begin to focus more seriously on self-employed professionals in the policy and administrative efforts aimed at increasing tax collection from the informal sector in Africa. Proceeding on that premise, the author provides three lessons that we can learn from a Kenyan case study on taxing self-employed professionals in Africa.

Keywords: Professionals, hard-to-tax, evasion, presumptive tax, trust, compliance, regulators, professional bodies, tax administration, informal sector, Kenya, Africa.

Suggested Citation

Ogembo, Daisy, Taxation of Self-Employed Professionals in Africa: Three Lessons from a Kenyan Case Study (March 2020). Ogembo, D., "Taxation of Self-Employed Professionals in Africa: Three Lessons from a Kenyan Case Study" [2020] (Institute of Development Studies) ICTD African Tax Administration Working Paper Series, WP 17. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3801878 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3801878

Daisy Ogembo (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

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