This paper explores what lies behind the success of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in substantially increasing tax revenue between 1998 and 2002. A major finding is that, contrary to received wisdom which advocates increasing the autonomy of revenue authorities, political support, and shared values and objectives between government and the revenue authority may in fact be a precondition for enhancing the latter's performance. The paper also raises concerns that aggressive enforcement by SARS, which has contributed to its success in increasing revenue, may have been at the expense of upholding taxpayers' rights, and that this could undermine compliance.
This is a two-page summary of a paper which can be accessed in full on this page.
Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies, 2 pp.