Journal of Law and Society

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Tax Fraud and Selective Law Enforcement

Tue, 2020-04-21 19:43

This article presents a new conceptual framework for research into tax fraud and law enforcement. Informed by research approaches from across tax law, public economics, criminology, criminal justice, economics of crime, and regulatory theory, it assesses the effectiveness, and the legitimacy, of current approaches to combating tax fraud, bringing new dimensions to previously identified trends in crime control. It argues that, whilst the last decade has witnessed a significant intensification of measures that purportedly target tax fraud, preference has been consistently given to enforcement measures that maximize revenue gains rather than combat the fraud itself, even where the effect is to aggravate the non‐revenue costs of tax fraud. These developments demonstrate a significant shift from tax fraud suppression to tax fraud management. The article concludes that this shift not only undermines tax equity and overall tax compliance, but also leads to selective tax enforcement, thus representing a significant risk to the rule of law.

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