UP launches Chair in Tax Policy and Governance

Posted on July 26, 2013

As Professor Franzsen indicated during his address at the formal launch of the Chair on Thursday 25 July 2013, this new SARChI can indeed build on a solid foundation. Since 2007 ten doctorates on aspects of taxation or public finance were awarded at the University of Pretoria – three in the Department of Economics, five in the Department of Taxation and two in the Faculty of Law.

He also stressed the importance and relevance of the existing post-graduate offerings in public finance and taxation at UP which are extensive. He expressed the hope that together with his postgraduate students, research fellows, visiting scholars, co-faculty and programme manager, they could simply continue to build on the solid foundations already in place and the extensive existing academic and professional networks of the ATI.

Taxation can, by its very nature, be used effectively as an instrument to achieve the overall objectives applicable to all of the more than 150 SARChI chairs already operational at universities throughout the country, namely:

  • creation of decent work and a sustainable livelihood;
  • sustainable rural development, food security and land reform;
  • efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure;
  • sustainable human settlements;
  • protection and enhancement of environmental assets and natural resources; and
  • poverty alleviation.

Explaining the vision of this Research Chair, Professor Franzsen stated that, with inevitable exceptions, the Chair will primarily focus its research agenda in the following areas:

  • Fiscal decentralisation and sub-national taxation
  • Property and land taxation
  • Natural resource taxation
  • Tax policy and rural development
  • Information technology (IT) and geographic information systems (GIS) in the tax environment

In summarising what this chair is all about, he quoted from Bird and Oldman’s Taxation in Developing Countries (1990) – a quote as relevant today as it was twenty three years ago:

“The best approach to reforming tax in a developing country – indeed in any country – is one that takes into account taxation theory, empirical evidence, and political and administrative realities and blends them with a good dose of local knowledge and a sound appraisal of the current macroeconomic and international situation to produce a feasible set of proposals sufficiently attractive to be implemented and sufficiently robust to withstand changing times, within reason, and still produce beneficial results.”

The first six SARChI students – two PhD and four MPhil: Taxation – commenced their studies in the 2013 academic year.

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