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Tax, Inequality, and Human Rights$
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Philip G. Alston and Nikki R. Reisch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190882228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190882228.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2019

Interrogating the Relationship between “Legally Defensible” Tax Planning and Social Justice

Interrogating the Relationship between “Legally Defensible” Tax Planning and Social Justice

Chapter:
(p.347) Chapter 15 Interrogating the Relationship between “Legally Defensible” Tax Planning and Social Justice
Source:
Tax, Inequality, and Human Rights
Author(s):

Daniel Shaviro

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190882228.003.0016

This chapter assesses where the ethical lines should be drawn around what constitutes “legally defensible tax planning,” given social justice imperatives. Because tax minimization by wealthy individuals and profitable corporations does not involve blatant fraud, one cannot simply call for “good corporate tax behavior” and criticize the ethics of those tax professionals who aid and abet the fraud. The tax-reducing strategies of super-rich individuals and highly profitable corporations commonly qualify as what will be called “legally defensible.” This term, however, covers tax planning that may vary across a range in at least three important dimensions: likelihood of legal correctness; consistency with legislative or regulatory intent; and ordinary course of business versus carefully contrived.

Keywords:   tax planning ethics, social justice, tax minimization, fraud, corporate tax, tax-reducing strategies, tax planning

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