ISLAMABAD: A study published by the World Bank to support the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s efforts to facilitate women’s voluntary tax compliance said that women were less likely than men to believe that the government is using tax revenues to provide government services to its citizens.
“If women do not believe the government is using its resources effectively, they may be less inclined to register their properties and pay taxes,” according to the study, “Gender and Taxpayer Study in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” released on Saturday.
The KP government is undertaking reforms to bring three tax agencies under one roof as one-stop taxpayer facilitation centres across the province to assist tax payers with property registration, tax filing and payment. The provincial government is also digitising land records and tax services to make property records accessible and property registration and tax payment more convenient for taxpayers.
The study said that understanding women’s constraints and experiences in property registration and tax payments, as well as addressing gender gaps in digital technologies, can enhance the KP government’s ability to cater to the diverse needs of women and men during the ongoing reforms.
Key findings of the study revealed that lack of information and unclear processes for property registration are the most-cited challenges for female users of field tax offices, affecting a higher proportion of women than men. Lack of female staff is the second most-cited difficulty affecting female taxpayers’ experience.
It said payment of taxes using banking or mobile applications is not yet common, and it is much less common among women than men. Taxpayers currently travel to payment points, such as a bank branch, to pay taxes in person rather than using electronic methods of payment.
Women with limited education may not fully benefit from digitisation of tax services. Digital access and use vary by education level; with women having limited education being less likely than educated women to own mobile phones and to use digital banking and wallet applications.
There were also gender differences in the use of digital financial technologies; a higher share of men than women use mobile banking applications. Face-to-face service provision, such as in one-stop tax facilitation centres in all districts, therefore continues to be important — at least in the medium term, until more women and men have better digital technology access and use.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2023