By Daniels N. Shaviro

This quantity explores the explanations and prices of tax avoidance and gives an invaluable advisor to the major conceptual matters that has to be addressed so that it will layout a very potent tax reform.

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Additional info for Corporate Tax Shelters in a Global Economy: Why they are a Problem and What We Can do About it (AEI Studies on Tax Reform)

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49 neither tax harmonization nor tax competition is always best has been widely recognized. 33 Eliminating cross-border tax arbitrages resembles tax base harmonization but with an important difference. It does not require that different countries actually adopt the same rules. Suppose France and the United States have difficulty in agreeing to the same tax ownership rule, whether out of national pride, because they face different administrative trade-offs, or because changing one’s existing rule is costly to each country in some way.

Yet, one should understand that the sense of semantic inconsistency that underlies the term bears little direct relationship to the reasons why we might be concerned, from a national or worldwide welfare standpoint, about the transactions so described. From a welfare or efficiency standpoint, the main reason for concern about cross-border tax arbitrages (to abandon further quibbling about the name, simply because it has gained such wide acceptance) is that they involve preferential worldwide tax treatment.

But tax compliance is meant to be adversarial only to a degree. The tax system cannot function properly if taxpayers, rather than regarding compliance with the law as a duty, start regarding cheating under the threat of penalty as simply a risky investment, like buying the stock of a speculative startup. Norms of compliance and trust, based on the idea that we are all better off if we behave honorably so that the system can function, are therefore critical. As a societal coordination problem, tax compliance has the structure of a prisoner’s dilemma.

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