Foucault and Tax Jurisprudence: On the Creation of a 'Delinquent' Class of Taxpayer

Washington University Jurisprudence Review, Vol. 8, p. 59, 2015

27 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2016

Date Written: December 1, 2015

Abstract

In Discipline and Punish, Foucault described the role of the “disciplinary institution” in the formation of modern society. An example of such a modern Foucauldian disciplinary institution is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS currently devotes a substantial portion of its enforcement efforts against small businesses and low-income individual taxpayers. The IRS collection activity, as directed against low-income taxpayers, often manifests in Foucault´s “Philadelphia”-style prison, but without walls. The delinquent taxpayer becomes the delinquent social class with a diminished earning capacity, thereby directly undermining the reformatory goal of punishment. This audit process is a very different enforcement process than applied to large corporate taxpayers where the IRS continues to follow a “policy of restraint” with regard to the auditing of aggressive corporate tax positions.

Keywords: Foucault; tax jurisprudence; delinquent

Suggested Citation

Bogenschneider, Bret, Foucault and Tax Jurisprudence: On the Creation of a 'Delinquent' Class of Taxpayer (December 1, 2015). Washington University Jurisprudence Review, Vol. 8, p. 59, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2709900

Bret Bogenschneider (Contact Author)

University of Surrey - School of Law ( email )

United Kingdom

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