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Gender Impact of tax measures

The WBG has also criticised the UK government’s gender impact analysis of its tax measures as perfunctory and worthless. Although some comments are made about the gender impact of specific tax measures, the UK government performs no overall impact assessment of its tax measures, nor any cumulative impact assessment over time.

In many countries, direct taxes are said to be hard to collect and regressive indirect taxation is relied on more for consequently limited revenue collection. It is important to question such arguments since they may just be reflecting the interests of richer men and companies who would pay more under direct taxation, and do not see themselves as benefitting as much from public services. At the same time, it is important to argue for forms of indirect taxation that are fair to poor women and for the forms of public expenditure that benefit them most.

An additional source of revenue creation are fees for the use of public services. These tend to be particularly regressive and impact badly on women. Poor families, who need the services most, may not be able to afford to access them. Families that value the education of boys more highly than the education of girls may be less willing to pay fees for girls’ education.