Monash University
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The taxation of small business in developing countries

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posted on 2017-02-08, 00:01 authored by Haque, AKM Atiqul
ABSTRACT The thesis attempts to explore an efficient policy and administrative framework to tax the small businesses in developing countries. In order to approach the policy and administrative problems concerning the taxation of small business in developing countries this thesis asks How can small businesses be efficiently taxed in developing countries? This thesis over eight chapters qualitatively explores this research question. The analyses conclude that first, in a typical developing country a well-designed simple to follow presumptive tax regime is more efficient than the actual account based tax system. Second, this thesis argues that the noncompliance of small businesses in developing countries may not be adequately explained by the standard expected utility based compliance models. The leading tax compliance models which mainly emphasise on the perceived reward from evasion might ignore some crucial factor that constitutes the tax compliance environment of small businesses in developing countries. This thesis illustrates broadly the typical tax compliance environment of small businesses. It argues that a simple to follow tax system that requires a minimal level of taxpayer compliance would attract a section of small taxpayers into the formal tax net. Third, this thesis demonstrates that there are crucial differences between typical urban and rural businesses. A small business tax regime should have a separate set of presumptive instruments for each class of small business in order to make an efficient estimate of their economic activities. Fourth, this thesis analytically examines the presumptive methods and their practical applications. The findings suggest that in developing countries presumptive tax methods have been adopted mostly in arbitrary manner, without the objective considerations to many crucial design issues. Fifth, this thesis has developed a focused analysis on the taxation of urban small businesses in the contexts of developing countries. This thesis analyses some crucial characteristics of urban small businesses and stresses that enterprise formalization should be a key element of urban small business tax policy. For a meaningful expansion of the tax net, tax administration should put more focus on urban small businesses as these businesses have relatively more potential to grow as more stable and sustained taxpayers. This thesis concludes that a turnover based presumptive taxation is more efficient to tax the urban small businesses. Lastly, this thesis explores the issues concerning the taxation of rural small businesses. This thesis reports that the overall tax burden on the agricultural income had substantially declined over the last few decades. Developing countries should not ignore the tax potential of the rural taxpayers. In a typical developing country an asset based presumptive tax system is more efficient to tax the agricultural income of the rural small businesses. This thesis has argued that it would be more efficient to adopt a single asset based presumptive income tax replacing all the prevailing taxes on the agricultural income such as agricultural land tax, wealth tax and income tax.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Rick Krever

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Business Law and Taxation


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Business and Economics