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This panel will explore the dynamics of the fiscal relationship between states and taxpayers in the wake of COVID-19. We seek to understand the implications of the pandemic on revenue collection, relative tax burdens, and the reach of tax reliefs, with a focus on tax equity and the informal sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on fiscal relationships, both from the perspective of state revenue agencies and from the perspective of taxpayers and firms. While many of these dynamics are very recent, their impacts are likely to outlast the pandemic that has triggered them, with important consequences for state revenue but also equity and some of the most vulnerable livelihoods. From a state perspective, the pandemic has had a substantive negative impact on tax revenue, driven by the global economic slow-down, restrictions on movement, and the expansion of targeted tax reliefs. And yet, the pandemic and its aftermath present fiscal needs that are greater than ever, with tools like informal taxes or zakat being increasingly looked to. At the same time, businesses and households, particularly in vulnerable communities and within the informal sector struggle to manage and negotiate their fiscal obligations and relationships in the context of the crisis. This panel will look to explore these dynamics, while commenting on the methodological and political challenges ahead. We expect the focus to be on African economies.