Legalism and creativity: tax non-compliance in the eyes of the economic elite
This paper analyzes elite tax compliance from a sociological perspective in order to examine how different tax behaviors are justified or how they embody different taxpayers’ subjectivities. Drawing from the case of Chile and using a qualitative approach based on 32 interviews conducted with members of the economic elite, it is argued that forms of non-compliance -such as evasion and avoidance- are grounded in different‘repertoires of evaluation’ while denoting a plurality of distinctions and criteria of evaluation which relate to the legal culture in which the tax system operates. Findings show that legalism -a literal conception of the rules- does not always favor tax compliance and that it may even go against the purpose of tax collection when a creative use of the law prevails. Furthermore, legalism and creativity allow for the main justifications for challenging tax payment as well as the perceptions and beliefs that underlie the everyday relationship between taxpayers and the state to be understood.
Atria, J. (2019). Legalism and creativity: tax non-compliance in the eyes of the economic elite, International Review of Sociology, DOI: 10.1080/03906701.2019.1532653