Resolving Tax Disputes: Market Vendors and Councils in Malawi
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In local markets in Malawi, there are frequent tensions between market traders and the local councils who are responsible for the markets. This sometimes results in the traders refusing to pay market taxes. That in turn causes councils to refuse to provide services, to the markets themselves or to local populations more broadly. This paper reports on research into the circumstances in which these disputes are successfully resolved. The research covered eight local councils where such disputes have taken place. Some disputes were resolved; others were not. Information was obtained through 123 interviews and 12 focus group discussions with top council officials, council employees directly working with vendors, vendors, vendors’ committees, councillors, mayors, and leaders of civil society working in local governance.