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Vol 23 No 5 May/June 2018

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Taxing Culture

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Ann MumfordCardiff University

ISBN13: 9781840147100
ISBN: 1840147105
Published: November 2002
Publisher: Routledge
Format: Hardback
Price: £98.99

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This work seeks to provide a cultural context for the laws of tax collection, within a comparative UK/American structure. The comparative focus of the book has been chosen so as to enable its thesis to construct a cultural focus more clearly. Histories of collection, laws, and enforcement, are all considered so as to enable the stories of cultures of tax collection to be told.;The author presents three of the inferences that a comparative, critical and cultural consideration of tax collection cultures in the US and the UK has produced. These findings include, first, that study of the usage of exemplary prosecutions for tax evasion in the US provides valuable insight into positions of classes of persons - in other words, that taxpayers selected for exemplary prosecution speak to not merely other taxpayers, but to the socio-economic position of the class from which that person comes. The example of Leona Helmsley is discussed in this context, and with the suggestion that the manner of her prosecution presents feminist issues. Secondly, this book argues that analysis of the culture of tax and its collection must take note of the status of tax legal scholarship, and its historical failure to keep apace with developments in legal theory. Finally, the author suggests that critical cultural studies hold great promise for elucidation of this, presently, heavily criticised area of legal scholarship.

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Ideology and starting point; era seligman; tax collection and enforcement in the modern US; self-assessment and historical context; self-assessment and incomprehensible tax laws; the Ramsay principle; systems at work.