Tax Justice and Poverty Project

This project seeks to ensure that justice is not selective regarding taxation .The JHC” Tax Justice and poverty project” falls within the Jesuit Mission Criteria bullet Number Four that: seeks to address and/or advocate the under-lying causes of poverty/injustice and not just their symptoms.

This project emerges from recommendations of a three country research that included Kenya, Zambia and Germany. Key among the findings was the presence of weak taxation policy regimes. Thus we propose in this project a call for a tax policy framework, which utilizes the “Principle of Ability to Pay”, fosters growth, cushions the vulnerable, and ensures maximum revenue collection and utilization. Taxes should be according the Principle of Ability to Pay, one which supports progressive taxation rather than Flat Taxes. Moreover our research proposal is partly for a Wealth Tax; because there is weak or no taxation of wealth which could have contributed to the common fund. Wealth transfer taxes encourage equality of opportunities.

In Kenya, tax administration overburdens tax income from wages and salaries only rather than tax income from wealth and inheritance as well. There is also a tendency towards indirect taxes which are easy to collect. But the larger burden is unfairly on low and middle income households rather than support a mechanism where the wealthy pay their fair share of tax-burden. A majority of interviewees in our research added that “the tax regime focuses only on salaried people and consumption. Yet most of the income that should be taxed is however, in big businesses, and stock exchanges.” A significant finding and recommendation from this researched project proposal right from its inception dealt with the following question: who owns what wealth and what strategies can be used to increase domestic revenue mobilisation effort. That is, who owns what and who controls how much? What are wealth holders doing when it comes to taxation of their wealth or income or how else do they contribute to the common good, a responsibility for all citizens? A more just taxation system advances the Common Good of all.