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COUNTERACTING TAX EVASION IN MALAWI: AN ANALYSIS OF THE METHODS AND A QUEST FOR IMPROVEMENT

Chiumya, Chiza (2006): COUNTERACTING TAX EVASION IN MALAWI: AN ANALYSIS OF THE METHODS AND A QUEST FOR IMPROVEMENT.

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Abstract

Tax Evasion is one of the major problems that Tax Administrations face the world over. This is however more pronounced in Developing countries. Tax Evasion is defined in this paper as the act of illegally paying less taxes (or not paying at all) than the amount legally required by the tax law. This is in contrast to Tax Avoidance which contains some elements of legality as it is defined as the reduction of tax liability by practices that take full advantage of the loop holes in the tax law.

There are several reasons that have been cited as the major causes of Tax Evasion, especially in developing countries. Among such reasons are high tax rates that increase tax burdens, inadequate and weak tax law legislations which are coupled by lower levels of tax law enforcement, general dissatisfactions with the public service provisions and, the presence and extent of the parallel economy in these countries.

This paper focuses on analyzing the methods that Malawi employs in counteracting Tax Evasion and how they can be improved. At the core of the paper is the fact that Tax Evasion can be controlled by looking at the Tax law and also the various administrative measures that go along with enforcing it. It further singles out and recommends reviews in the Tax Law such as the enhancement of penalties and the broadening of transactions that require Tax Clearance Certificates, such as the tendering process. The paper also recommends a review in the staff capacity and its abilities, Assessment system, Incentive scheme and also tackling of the parallel economy in a bid to bring it into the taxable fold through the analyzing of Withholding Tax and Import and Export records.

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