Effect of VAT Adoption on Manufacturing Firms in Ethiopia

  •  Soule Sow    
  •  Mesay Gebresilasse    


To remedy their low fiscal capacity problem, many developing countries adopted value-added taxation because they believe it will raise tax revenue and improve the production efficiency of firms. In this paper, we study the impact of the adoption of the value-added tax (VAT) on firms by analyzing the introduction of VAT in Ethiopia in 2003 using panel data of manufacturing firms (1996-2009). By law, a firm is required to register for VAT if it is big (its revenue is higher than 500,000 Birr); otherwise, the firm is small and faces a much lower turnover tax rate. Using a difference in differences strategy with big firms as a treatment and small firms as control, and excluding firms that might potentially bunch around the threshold, we find taxes paid, reported revenue, taxes paid out of revenue, value-added, and raw materials use increase for big firms. However, the share of inputs in revenue fell suggesting VAT increased revenue efficiency by not production efficiency.

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