Pacific Accounting Review 31(4), 549-552.DOI 10.1108/PAR-11-2019-124.
Posted: 23 Feb 2022
Date Written: 2019
There is a close relationship between accounting and taxation, for taxation is a consequence of the ability to count, and account for resources, and it enables agents to provide their accounts to (divine and/or mortal) principals. As both language and taxation are coeval with human society, taxation was an early application, if not the occasion for, the rise of both writing and accounting (Schmandt-Besserat, 1992). The requirement to provide an account for social imposts necessitated the record-keeping of quantitative data. Among their many uses, accounting outputs continue to provide the primary inputs for tax calculation and recording. Taxation and accounting are social activities that involve relationships of accountability and power. Burchell et al. (1980) note that the core functions of accounting include the provision of information for decision making, the allocation of resources and the maintenance of institutional accountability and stewardship. These functions pertain equally to taxation. Revenue authorities delegate the task of tax assessment to taxpayers and require taxpayers to submit documentary accounts to discharge their tax obligations. As an exercise of (state) power to enforce compliance, taxation is “a process of regulation [...] that relies on accounting practice to provide regulative techniques” (Lamb, 2001, p. 273). Given the asymmetry of power between the taxer and the taxpayer, taxation may be considered “the use of accounting to regulate behaviour [...] making individuals governable” (Annisette and Neu, 2004, p. 2). Conversely, governments maintain fiscal legitimacy by producing budgets and accounts to justify their intended and actual use of tax revenues, and to promote compliance. Full paper available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/PAR-11-2019-124
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