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This brief examines changes in citizens' perceptions of local taxation over time in Tanzania based on survey data from 2003 and 2006. It investigates why people do or do not pay taxes, their perceptions of misuse of tax revenue, and their views on how to address the problems. The brief concludes that citizens' perceptions can valuably inform policy to improve the local tax system. Most importantly, improved tax compliance is dependent upon citizens perceiving that their local government is trustworthy, and that taxes are appropriately collected and used to provide public services. Administrative and legal measures are needed to ensure transparency in the collection and disbursement of tax revenues at the local level, to enable citizens to confidently report misuse of revenue, and to effectively address cases of corruption.

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance