Taxation and Surveillance: An Agenda

49 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2014 Last revised: 27 Oct 2015

See all articles by Michael Hatfield

Michael Hatfield

University of Washington - UW Law; University of Washington - School of Law

Date Written: December 17, 2014


Among government agencies, the IRS likely has the surest legal claim to the most information about the most Americans:their hobbies, religious affiliations, reading activities, travel, and medical information are all potentially tax relevant. Privacy scholars have studied the arrival of Big Data, the internet-of-things, and the cooperation of private companies with the government in surveillance, but neither privacy nor tax scholars have considered how these technological advances should impact the U.S. tax system. As government agencies and private companies increasingly pursue what has been described as the “growing gush of data,” the use of these technologies in tax administration will become increasingly important to consider. This Article provides an agenda of items for discussion, debate, and research related to the development, implementation, and effects of a surveillance-facilitated tax system.

Keywords: tax, surveillance, privacy, big data, internet of things

JEL Classification: K10, K34, K42, H20, H21, H24, H26, H29

Suggested Citation

Hatfield, Michael W. and Hatfield, Michael W., Taxation and Surveillance: An Agenda (December 17, 2014). Yale Journal of Law & Technology, 2015, Forthcoming, University of Washington School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-34, Available at SSRN: or

Michael W. Hatfield (Contact Author)

University of Washington - School of Law ( email )

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206-221-1535 (Phone)


University of Washington - UW Law ( email )

William H. Gates Hall
Box 353020
Seattle, WA 98195-3020
United States

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