Taxation and customs

Efficient tax and VAT systems

Efficient tax and VAT systems encourage greater compliance and help to formalise the economy which brings important benefits to government and civil society. They also benefit businesses which make fewer and simpler payments.

Streamlined customs processes can help encourage cross-border and international trade. By stimulating new business opportunities, robust customs systems can help enhance competitivity and ensure greater compliance.

Facilitation of Custom Procedures

ICF is working with the Government of Burkina Faso and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to improve customs administration in the country. The initiative involves establishment of an electronic data exchange system, establishment of a single window for pre-clearance which will integrate all the stakeholders involved in the import and export of goods, reduction of the number of documents, and streamlining of procedures.

The project is expected to increase transparency in the process of issuing documents necessary for the import and export of goods.  The time it takes to go through the customs pre-clearance process will be reduced from 15 days to 3 days. The number of documents required for importing will be reduced from 10 to 7, and for export from 10 to 3. A single point of entry for documents required for pre-clearance will be established, integrating 7 government agencies, 5 private sector agencies, 10 banks and 5 insurance companies. 

Tax Reform Project

ICF is working with the Government of Cape Verde to increase tax revenue and simplify the tax administration system to increase efficiency and customer service, and improve the investment climate in Cape Verde. This includes structural reform of the Tax Office, review of existing tax laws, creation of a simplified tax regime for micro and small enterprises, and the establishment of anti-tax avoidance and fraud measures.

The project is expected to reduce a taxpayer’s annual tax payments from 43 to only seven and increase the number of taxpayers submitting income tax returns from the current 40% to 70%.

Pan-African Capacity Building and Knowledge Sharing

The aim of this project was to strengthen capacity building within ICF projects through the sharing of knowledge and best practices. The project conducted Project Directors and Accountants workshops in different parts of the continent, and in different languages, to cater for greater participation. The workshops stimulated the exchange of ideas and experiences, and enabled Project Management Teams to give honest and unbiased feedback. This improved financial management in ICF projects, especially in financial reporting and controls, and reduced audit findings. The project also included sectoral knowledge sharing initiatives on commercial justice as well as business and asset registration, which enabled different countries to learn from one another.

Modernization of Tax Administration

ICF worked with the Government of Ethiopia to modernize tax administration for the Ethiopia Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA). The project implemented an electronic tax filing system for the Large Taxpayers Office as a pilot, enabling taxpayers to submit their tax returns online.

The electronic tax system is now fully operational at the Large Taxpayer Office in Addis Ababa. It has reduced the time taken to submit tax applications and effect payment to 1 day. Large taxpayers have been trained on its functionality and have begun using it. Over 500 tax officials have been trained in the new tax administration system, including trainers of trainers.

A call centre has been established within ERCA to facilitate interaction with all taxpayers, and taxpayer education initiatives have already brought improved revenue collection.  

Single Window for International Trade

ICF and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are working with the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) that aims to reduce the procedures, time and costs of international trade transactions in Ethiopia by deploying an end-to-end electronic Single Window System for trade. The system will allow electronic submission, processing and delivery of clearance documents for import, export and transit of goods.

The project is expected to reduce the average time for importing goods from 47 days to 11 days and exporting goods from 39 days to nine days.

Kenya »

National Electronic Single Window System

ICF is working with the Government of Kenya to speed up import and export trade in Kenya by reducing processing delays and lowering costs associated with clearance of goods at the Kenyan borders. It will establish an Electronic Single Window platform for submitting and processing documentation used in clearing cargo.

The electronic single window will be the sole entry point for lodging trade transaction documentation in Kenya. It is expected to reduce cargo dwell time at seaports, airports and borders posts from eight days to three days, five days to one day, and two days to an hour, respectively.

Lesotho »

Reform of the VAT Regime

ICF worked with the Government of Lesotho on a pilot project to simplify the assessment, administration and collection of VAT. The project conducted a diagnostic study on the VAT administration systems of the Lesotho Revenue Authority and provided assistance in the implementation of the recommendations.

As a result of the project, registering for VAT now takes 2 days instead of 2 weeks, paying VAT now takes 20 minutes instead of 3 hours, and claiming a refund requires only 3 signatures instead of 7.

Liberia »

Computerisation of Customs Department

ICF worked with the Government of Liberia to simplify and automate administrative processes in the Customs House and Free Port of Monrovia to ensure a faster and more predictable goods clearing process in the port. The project computerised all manual systems by installing over 60 computers and an office network, and trained over 110 Customs staff and brokers on computer skills.

As a result, procedures for clearing goods were reduced from 14 to 9, and the time taken from application to release of goods went down from 30 days to 3.62 days.

Modernization of Taxpayer Services Phase I

A second project will modernize the Mozambique Revenue Authority.

Phase 1 aims at giving the Mozambique Revenue Authority a more customer oriented face through improved interaction with the taxpayer and taxpayer education.

Modernization of Domestic Taxes Administration

A project looking at the preparation and design of e-filing and e-payment of taxes in Lesotho, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Rwanda »

Modernization of Tax Administration

ICF worked with the Government of Rwanda to modernise its tax administration system and address the concerns of the private sector. The project focused on establishing an online electronic filing and payment system at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) to streamline administration processes of domestic taxes. It also raised awareness of Rwanda’s tax system and RRA services and procedures. As a result of the project, Rwandans can now file their taxes through a simple and convenient online tax system. The time it takes to process domestic taxes (VAT, income tax, PAYE) has reduced from 23.5 days to instantaneous. The time for processing Tax Clearance certificates has gone down from 3 days to just 10 minutes.

Secure online filing of tax returns can be done from anywhere, making it easier and more convenient for the taxpayer. Taxpayers can also pay electronically though banks or mobile banking. The project has also established call centre as well as a training centre within RRA which offers training to taxpayers. 

International Trade Facilitation

ICF is working with the Government of Sao Tome and Principe to improve international trade facilitation so that goods can be imported and exported more easily. The project aims to reduce the procedures, time and cost of international trade transactions in the country by establishing an end to end single window trade system. The system will create one portal for importers, exporters and government institutions dealing with international trade facilitation to process all customs clearances. The project is expected to reduce export and import processing time from 26 and 28 days respectively to 16 days for both exports and imports.

Senegal »

GAINDE Paperless Trade Phase I & II

ICF and the Government of Senegal worked on two projects which aimed to reduce the time it takes to declare and clear goods through customs. This involved introducing a regulatory and administrative framework for automated and digitized customs clearance procedures. It also involved the adoption in 2011 of electronic documents and signatures as legally binding documents in Senegal.

As a result, registration for customs declaration has been reduced from 2 days to 15 minutes; the customs pre-clearance process now takes 7 hours instead of 2 days; customs clearance for exports now takes 11 days instead of 14 days and for imports it now takes 14 days instead of 18 days; and goods removal now takes 2 days instead of 3 days.

Modernization of Customs Authority

ICF worked with the Government of Senegal to modernise the Customs Authority in order to reduce the time and cost for custom declaration and release of goods. The project streamlined, automated and digitized the customs clearance processes, and integrated the customs clearance system into a common electronic trade data platform. It also introduced a new regulatory and administrative framework for the automated and digitalized custom clearance procedures.  

As a result of the project, registration for customs declaration now only takes 15 minutes instead of the previous 2 days. The processing of customs clearance has been reduced from 18 days to 1 day and the processing of goods removal was reduced from 3 days to 2 days.

The project has enabled all the main Customs offices to now operate on GAINDE’s common electronic trade data platform. These are: Dakar Port Nord, Dakar Port Sud, Dakar Petrole, Dakar Airport and five secondary Customs Offices. All together, they process more than 90% of customs declarations in Senegal. 100% of the customs declarations are registered within the system.

Modernization of Tax Administration

ICF has been working with the Government of Senegal to improve tax administration in the country. The first phase of ICF support introduce a new legal framework that streamlined regulatory and administrative tax procedures in order to increase transparency, and reduce time and cost for tax administration.

The project established e-Tax and e-Payment systems, automated existing administrative processes and digitised tax records. As a result, declaring and paying taxes through the Large Taxpayer Office now takes 15 minutes instead of 2 days, processing corporate taxes reimbursements and VAT refunds takes 15 days and 30 days respectively instead of 175 days. The second phase of ICF support will enhance the eServices in order to increase the number of taxpayers using these electronic services. This will be done by enhancing the e-Payment system and operationalizing the tax services centre.

Modernization of Customs Administration PH I & II

ICF worked with the Government of Tanzania to improve the investment climate by modernising customs administration.

Phase I of the project laid the foundation for the deployment of the new Customs Administration system by conducting business process re-engineering of Customs procedures, selecting a new customs integrated administration software, and harmonising procedures between the Tanzania Revenue Authority and other stakeholders.

The second phase of the project will introduce a new online portal through which importers, exporters and all relevant agencies can process customs clearance electronically. The initiative will shorten goods clearance times, increase customs efficiency and transparency and help the Tanzania Revenue Authority to cope with increasing trade volumes.

Zambia »

Modernization of Tax Administration: Phase I and II

ICF and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) worked on two projects which aimed to modernise the tax administration system in Zambia. This involved creating a more customer-oriented organization, educating taxpayers on tax regulations and improving their understanding of ZRA and its service. It also involved the implementation of an integrated system that allows for electronic tax administration processing.

The project set up a call centre and an integrated tax administration system was implemented, both allowing improved communication and services to tax payers.

As a result, 75% of all returns received by ZRA are now filed online. The filing, payment and processing of tax returns has gone from 10-16 days to within one day. Registering a taxpayer can now be done within a day instead of the previous 3 days.

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