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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Raising Local Authority District Revenues through Direct Taxation in a Low-Income Developing Country: Evaluating Uganda's GPT
Authors:Livingstone, IanISNI
Charlton, RogerISNI
Periodical:Public Administration and Development
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:income tax
Politics and Government
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
External link:https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-162X(199812)18:5<499::AID-PAD39>3.0.CO;2-M
Abstract:Uganda has a long history of attempting to raise local tax revenues through a form of direct taxation, what is now called Graduated Personal Tax (GPT). This is a personal tax levied on all males aged 18 and over, together with females engaged in business. The origins of GPT go back to Hut Tax, introduced by the colonial government in 1890, and to the poll tax introduced in 1905. Uganda's GPT represents a rather unusual attempt at applying a local income tax as a means of financing local authority operations in a predominantly informal, rural economy. Statistical and other analysis and comment reveal it to have serious deficiencies. GPT can be evaluated as a tax according to the usual criteria, starting with fairness or equity, both vertical, in terms of falling proportionately more heavily on those with higher incomes, and horizontal, in terms of falling equally heavily on those with similar levels of income. GPT performs poorly in both these directions. Apart from its complicated assessment procedures and high collection costs, there are considerable social and political costs associated with the implementation of the tax in the form of harassment of the population, especially the poor sections of the community. The only obvious alternatives in the districts, other than those already tapped by Central Government, are taxes on land or agriculture. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.