Benchmarking Tax Administrations in Developing Countries: A Systemic Approach
Benchmarking as a way of establishing standards for evaluating the performance of tax administrations has become increasingly popular in recent years. Two common approaches to benchmarking are ‘benchmarking by numbers’ – the quantitative approach and ‘benchmarking by (presumed) good institutional practice’ – the qualitative approach. Both these approaches consider each component or aspect of the tax administration separately. This paper suggests a contrasting approach to benchmarking, the purpose of which is less to allow others to assess the performance of a tax administration than it is to permit an administration to understand and improve its own performance. This systemic approach is more conceptually and operationally difficult because it requires considering how all aspects of the administrative system function as a whole in the context of the environment within which that system is embedded and operates. On the other hand, it is also more directly aimed at understanding and improving the key operational strategies that define good, better and best tax administrations.
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