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Regulating havens: The role of hard and soft governance of tax experts in conditions of secrecy and low regulation

Sheila Killian, Philip O'Regan, Ruth Lynch, Martin Laheen and Dionysios Karavidas

Regulation & Governance, 2022, vol. 16, issue 3, 722-737

Abstract: International tax governance is significant societally as it impacts both inequality and the capacity of governments to deliver on their social contracts. Tax experts forma key, under‐researched, heterogeneous element of the tax ecosystem, subject to a range of hard and soft governance influences. While problematic tax regimes are appropriately identified by reference to lax regulation or financial opacity, few empirical studies explore how operating in these jurisdictions affects the governance of tax experts individually. Using international survey data, we find that the influence of soft governance on tax experts varies across conditions of secrecy or lax regulation. Soft governance, including that of the workplace and the profession, is most influential in challenging regimes. Beyond a tipping point of economic freedom, regulatory knowledge and the threat of sanction become less influential. Elements along the continuum between hard and soft governance interact in a non‐homogenous way that indicates a role for professional bodies and firms in tax governance.

Date: 2022
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https://doi.org/10.1111/rego.12347

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