TAX EVASION / AVOIDANCE – the illegal non-payment or under-payment of taxes, usually by deliberately making a false declaration or no declaration to tax authorities. It could involve the declaration of less income, profits or gains than the amounts actually earned, or the overstatement of deductions. It entails criminal or civil legal penalties.
Tax avoidance is the legal practice of seeking to minimise a tax bill by taking advantage of a loophole or exception to the rules, or adopting an unintended interpretation of the tax code. It usually refers to the practice of seeking to avoid paying tax by adhering to the letter of the law but opposed to the spirit of the law. Proving intention is difficult; therefore the dividing line between avoidance and evasion is often unclear.
TAX HAVENS (see SECRECY JURISDICTIONS) – these are legislative, judicial, fiscal and regulatory spaces provided by jurisdictions that encourage the relocation of economic transactions to that domain. Low or minimal tax rates to non-residents might apply and they may or may not host a range of financial service providers. These jurisdictions are defined by the tax benefits they offer and, in the case of corrupt individuals wanting to hide their funds, the secrecy that ensures that those making use of its regulation.
TJOTJO – a South African term referring to a bribe paid usually to a police or traffic officer.
TRADING OF INFLUENCE – refers to the exchange of undue advantages between a public official and a member of the public. For example, a public official may promise to use his or her real or supposed influence to the benefit of another person in exchange for money or other favours.
TRANSPARENCY – the quality of being clear, honest and open in the disclosure of information, rules, plans, processes and actions. As a principle, transparency implies that civil servants, managers and trustees have a duty to act visibly, predictably and understandably. Sufficient information must be available so that other agencies and the general public can assess whether the relevant procedures are followed, consonant with the given mandate.
Transparency is therefore considered an essential element of accountable governance, leading to improved resource allocation, enhanced efficiency, and better prospects for economic growth in general.
WHISTLE-BLOWING (see PROTECTED DISCLOSURE) – refers to making a disclosure in the public interest by an employee, director or external person, in an attempt to reveal neglect or abuses within the activities of an organisation, government body or company (or one of its business partners) that threaten public interest, its integrity and reputation.
These individuals often require protection from those they expose. Whistle-blower protection refers to the measures (administrative or legislative) taken to shield the informer from physical, social and economic retaliation. Successful law enforcement and anti-corruption strategies are largely dependent upon the willingness of individuals to provide information and/or to give evidence.
The term in English is largely positive although many languages lack a similar concept with the same connotation.