Making Tax Work for Girls’ Education: How and why governments can reduce tax incentives to invest more in girls’ education

Report for ActionAid (February 2018)

This report presents new research in four developing countries – Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal and Tanzania – and shows: How much revenue these governments are losing to tax incentives, including from the tax treaties they have signed with other countries; What it would cost these countries to provide all girls with full access to primary education, and; How much this investment in girls’ education would benefit not only the girls themselves but the economy as a whole.

The research finds that:

  • Three of the four countries are losing more than half a billion dollars a year to tax incentives
  • The costs of educating all girls currently out of primary school is miniscule by comparison. Tanzania, for example, loses 15 times more in tax incentives each year than it would cost to educate all girls currently out of primary school
  • Two countries, Mozambique and Nepal, would gain more than $1 billion by educating all girls currently out of primary school over their 45 year working lives.

There are 61 million children of primary school age around the world who are out of school – most of whom are girls. To ensure that all girls have a good quality education, governments in developing countries need to increase their spending on education and improve its quality. One key way to raise extra resources is by increasing tax revenues, and one major way to do that is to reduce or eliminate the tax incentives that many governments now offer, especially to corporations.

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