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Human Rights at the Borders of Tax Sovereignty

38 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2017  

Allison Christians

McGill University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 27, 2017

Abstract

Tax scholarship typically presumes the state’s power to tax and therefore rarely concerns itself with analyzing which relationships between a government and a potential taxpayer normatively justify taxation, and which do not. This paper presents the case for undertaking such an analysis as a matter of the state’s obligation to observe and protect fundamental human rights. It begins by examining existing frameworks for understanding how a taxpayer population is and ought to be defined. It then analyzes potential harms created by an improperly expansive taxpayer category, and those created by excluding from consideration those beyond the polity even if directly impacted by the tax regime. It concludes that a modified membership principle is a more acceptable framework for normative analysis of the jurisdiction to tax, even while acknowledging the overwhelming weight of existing perceptions about the bounds of the polity and the state-citizen relationship as significant barriers to acceptance.

Keywords: taxation, international relations, jurisdiction, social contract theory, sovereignty, nexus, international tax, political philosophy

JEL Classification: H11, H21, H87, F02, F50, F53, F59, Z13, E63, H2, K33, K34, N40, P45

Suggested Citation

Christians, Allison, Human Rights at the Borders of Tax Sovereignty (February 27, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2924925

Allison Christians (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Rue Peel
Montréal, Quebec
Canada

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