Multinational companies shifting their profits from Africa to low-tax jurisdictions are only partly responsible for the erosion of the continent’s tax revenue bases. Business Day reports that the African Tax Administration Forum (Ataf) believes some countries have signed away their tax revenue because of weak domestic policies, and ill-conceived tax incentives and mining contracts.
For two years the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been on a drive to address profit shifting and base erosion and the report says, Ataf agrees with the need for an action plan and has embarked on a drive to address problems that cause base erosion in Africa but are not on the OECD’s agenda. Ataf executive secretary Logan Wort says domestic policies and ofte, badly written mining contracts, erode tax bases in Africa. Ataf will address the tax challenges of e-commerce, hybrid mismatch arrangements, abuse of double tax treaties, the establishment of dummy headquarters and the requirement to disclose aggressive tax-planning arrangements.
Kenya is to impose capital gains and windfall taxes on oil, gas and mining companies within months to ensure it maximised benefits from its mineral resources. Business Report quotes President Uhuru Kenyatta as saying: ‘This is something that we are very clear about. We want to ensure that we as a country also are able to benefit from both the windfall and capital gains tax.’ Tullow Oil and partner Africa Oil have found oil reserves in northern Kenya and the government wants to avoid a similar situation to that in Uganda, where Tullow is contesting in court the state revenue authority’s demand that it pay capital gains tax following its sale of assets.