The ethics of tax evasion
In this article published with Walter Block, Marian Eabrasu, David Howden and Jérémie Rostan in Business and Society Review, 116 (3), pp. 375-401, we analyze the ethics of tax evasion.
A wide and growing consensus views taxation as fundamentally coercive in nature. Regardless of the magnitude of the tax or the agents perpetrating it, this fundamental coercive element remains. Tax evasion must consequently be treated as an effort to convert this coercive behavior into voluntary transactions. By altering the conditions of payment and receipt of goods and services, taxation veils both consumers' and producers' preferences. Critics of tax evasion have left unanswered the question as to how society will efficiently allocate its scarce resources under coercively falsified preference signals. Accepting that preferences are best signaled voluntarily and via market participants directly, we argue that tax evasion must result in increased economic efficiency, as well as allow for a reinstatement of an individual's right to contract freely.