Comparative Taxation Procedure and Tax Enforcement

19 Pages Posted: 4 May 2009

See all articles by Paul B. Stephan

Paul B. Stephan

University of Virginia School of Law

Date Written: April 28, 2009


This essay, a chapter in a book on international investment law and comparative public law forthcoming from Oxford University Press, reviews the applicability of international investment law to tax administration and enforcement. It begins with a review of the principles of international investment law that are relevant to the assessment and enforcement of municipal tax imposts. It then explores tax administration practice in a variety of states. This overview seeks to achieve two results. First, as an inductive matter it use state practice to sketch a baseline of common, and presumably acceptable, administrative practices. An investor normally should be deemed to expect a state to employ administrative practice that reflects the exigencies of tax assessment and collection and the reasonable need of the administrator for flexibility and dispatch. Second, the review highlights ways in which common practices can be perverted to impair investments, rather than to advance the appropriate revenue goals of the state.

At the end of the day, the line between acceptable discretion and perversion of tax administration to get around obligations to foreign investors remains blurred and debatable. This chapter represents a first step at illuminating the problem and the countervailing arguments. It concludes with a modest prospectus for future research.

Suggested Citation

Stephan, Paul B., Comparative Taxation Procedure and Tax Enforcement (April 28, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Paul B. Stephan (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
434-924-7098 (Phone)
434-924-7536 (Fax)

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