Nick Shaxson ■ New report: women, tax and economic inequality

Click to enlarge. (Image: Actionaid)

Click to enlarge. (Image: Actionaid)

ActionAid has just published a new report entitled Close the Gap! The Cost of Inequality in Women’s Work, which does that it says on the tin. It’s not just about tax, of course, but it contains much that is of interest to us.

For instance:

“Women are also disproportionately affected when governments attempt to minimise budget deficits and keep inflation low through limiting government investment in public services. Tax avoidance and evasion further puts the squeeze on the public purse, with governments unable to raise revenues effectively from wealthy individuals and multinational businesses operating in their countries. Women indeed depend on public services more than men and are frequently strongly represented in public sector jobs, so when cutbacks strike, it is they who are hit hardest.”

And there are other factors at play too:

“Tax policies are often (explicitly and implicitly) biased against women – pushing them further to the bottom of the economic pile. Explicit biases are easy to identify. In Morocco, for example, joint income is automatically assigned to the man as the person filing the tax return on behalf of the household. Implicit biases are usually reflected in indirect taxation, such as Value Added Tax (VAT), and have a disproportionate impact on women because they are primary care givers and the main consumers of the basic household products.”

For a further exploration of these crucial issues, also from a development policy perspective, see Christian Aid’s 2014 document Taxing Men and Women: why gender is crucial for a fairer tax system, and the lead article Gender and Taxation Systems in a 2007 edition of our newsletter, Tax Justice Focus.

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