Taxing powers must be allocated, revenue collected, and funds distributed across all levels of government, allowing each to meet its own obligations. The many different ways in which countries now do this has a significant impact on the level and composition of public services. It raises questions as to whether the overall outcome truly reflects what citizens want. Concerns about fairness and inequality often conflict with a desire for more local accountability and fiscal autonomy. Geographical distance seems to matter when the goal is to have more effective and responsive government. How far away is too far away to be accountable?
Administrative concerns and costs limit the allocation of taxing powers and policy options. They are important in determining which tier of government can and should collect income, corporate, consumption and property taxes. Are there useful principles which countries should follow in assigning functions across tiers of government? Should a local component of national income taxes be more widely used as a source of finance for sub-national tiers of government? What scope is there for decentralising responsibility for other taxes, for setting the base, and for the (structure of) tax rates? Spillover effects between different tiers of government are important. Institutional arrangements to deal with tax competition and particularly “unfair” (and unproductive) tax competition become paramount. How far should we strive to limit tax competition on sub-national and regional levels?
These are some of the issues that were at the heart of the debates that which took place at the 5th ITD Global Conference in Morocco. The conference was an ideal opportunity for ministers, and senior officials from national and sub-national government, to come together to discuss and help craft answers that are best adapted to each country’s individual circumstances.
A number of prominent academics and representatives of regional and international organisations will be also present at the conference.
More information on the topics covered can be found in the conference agenda.