Trust in the Tax System: The Problem of Lobbying

Building Trust in Taxation (2017); ISBN 9781780684260

22 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2018

Date Written: 2016


Fairness in the tax system seems unachievable when the well-advised free-ride on the many benefits of an organized global economy paid for by tax revenues extracted from others. While those publicly accused of ‘tax-dodging’ point to their full compliance with all applicable laws, they are substantially less forth-coming about their efforts to influence the shape of the law to their own benefit. All too often, tax policy appears to respond primarily to those with the resources to influence the policy-makers. As the system becomes increasingly unresponsive to legitimate policy goals and increasingly out of touch with justice – perceived and actual – public perceptions about the system understandably trend toward the cynical. In the extreme, taxpayers who lose trust in their elected representatives, their tax administrators, and their fellow taxpayers will feel justified in refusing to cooperate with a system they view as fundamentally unprincipled. This chapter argues that this is a governance problem that cannot be eliminated but must be systemically addressed in order to restore taxpayer trust. It suggests that transparency and accountability in policy-making are necessary, and that governments can move toward achieving these aims by supporting and contributing to global, open-access data resources and independent tax policy research in the public interest.

Keywords: trust, taxation, tax planning, ethics, society, state, compliance, cooperation, enforcement, lobbying, Corporate social responsibility

JEL Classification: D21, D63, D78, E62, F02, F23, F42, H20, H25, H26, H87, K34, L21, M14

Suggested Citation

Christians, Allison, Trust in the Tax System: The Problem of Lobbying (2016). Building Trust in Taxation (2017); ISBN 9781780684260 . Available at SSRN: or

Allison Christians (Contact Author)

McGill University - Faculty of Law ( email )

3644 Rue Peel
Montréal, Quebec

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