Gender and Taxation: Analysis of Personal Income Tax (PIT)

Citation:

Bategeka, Lawrence, Madina Guloba, and Julius Kiiza. 2009. Gender and Taxation: Analysis of Personal Income Tax (PIT). 58. Kampala: Economic Policy Research Centre.

Authors: Lawrence Bategeka, Madina Guloba, Julius Kiiza

Abstract:

This paper examines the gender dimensions of personal income tax (PIT) in Uganda with an eye on the possible gender biases that may be embedded in the tax system. It further addresses the issue of Uganda’s achievement of substantive gender equality rather than formal equality as regards the impact of taxes from a gender perspective. This is in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The paper critically examines Uganda’s tax laws that seem to have formal equality, treating all people as if they are the same and synonymous with equality of opportunity. Yet, substantive equality recognizes that people are not the same. Equal treatment may therefore not be equitable. Accordingly, the paper examines the extent to which Uganda’s tax laws and practices are, through affirmative action, geared to the achievement of substantive equality or the attainment of equal outcomes. We find that PIT paid by different household earning types increases gender inequality. We also find that the income tax system only worsens gender gaps and hardly is a useful tool that could be used to close the gender gaps. This is mainly because the tax rates are applied equally to both genders without due consideration of gender inequality and household composition that is rooted in the country’s social norms and history. Furthermore, we find that more women increasingly fall under taxable brackets in real terms because of the income tax brackets that are not indexed to inflation. The paper proposes how PIT could be reformed with a view to using taxation as a tool for the realization of substantive gender equality.

Topics: Economies, Public Finance, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2009

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