Co-Producing tax compliance: tax agency mobilization of taxpayers, businesses, and third parties (WP6)
Researchers in this part of the FairTax research project will analyze new compliance initiatives developed by Scandinavian government tax agencies that proactively engage taxpayers, businesses, and third parties in enhanced tax compliance processes before tax statements are delivered and legal control systems take over.
The researchers will analyze how the tax agencies' proactive engagements with taxpayers have affected regulation of tax collection and administrative processes, changed relationships between stakeholders and tax agencies, and influenced tax compliance.
These new compliance initiatives depart from traditional views of the taxation process, in which tax agencies are seen as strong regulatory bodies that are responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing payment in accordance with the terms of tax laws. The current experiences in the Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish tax agencies represent the emergence of a new trend of collaborations between representatives of the state, organizations and corporations or in OECD wordings: ‘proactively engaging and involving stakeholders’ (2013). In these processes, state tax agencies engage stakeholders outside their own organizational boundaries to further their institutional interests, and thereby ‘distribute’ their powers of enforcement. These initiatives are of considerable importance under conditions of continuing austerity and consolidation. New compliance practices have also raised concerns that including taxpayers in auditing practices and system development may blur roles carefully developed over generations in both law and administrative practices.
This research will be conducted as comparative interpretive taxation studies of Nordic compliance initiatives. The focus of the analysis will be on the social, organizational, and relational aspects of new forms of tax regulation that use social processes to shape tax administrations and taxpayer behaviors in new ways. This project has potential to break new ground in taxation compliance research and to supplement the existing dominant positivist research tradition with a focus on practice and on what happens in the relations between tax agencies and taxpayers.