Stimulating Collaboration and Cooperation in Tax Inspection
The chapter discusses a case of collaborative tax inspection where large construction companies work with tax inspectors to check for compliance with tax rules and laws. What makes the case stand out is that the tax inspectors must engage and enroll reluctant construction companies to do new inspection tasks on a voluntary basis. The chapter reports the results of intensive ethnographic fieldwork conducted during the spring of 2015 among tax inspectors in Sweden. Their aim was to motivate construction companies into assisting them in checking for tax compliance in an environment with famously high risks of financial crime. To analyse the material the chapter draws on Callon’s sociology of translation. His theoretical concepts of problematization, obligatory passages points, enrolment and trial of strengths are used to highlight the process whereby the tax inspectors enroll the companies to engage in the tax inspection. Callon’s concepts are thus used to bring forth how the interests of the concerned construction companies are being translated to align with the interests of the Swedish tax authority. All-in-all, the chapter shows the challenges in collaborating with reluctant actors when engaging in traditionally coercive regulation such as taxation. Yet, it also shows the potential deep transformation of the way tax inspection is practiced on the ground when antagonism between inspector and inspected is no longer the default relationship, but collaboration is what is being built up in new fragile alliances.
KeywordsCollaboration Coproduction Tax administration Ethnography Sociology of translation
- Bevir, M., & Rhodes, R. A. W. (2016). The ‘3Rs’ in rethinking governance. Ruling, rationalities and resistance. In R. A. W. Rhodes & M. Bevir (Eds.), Rethinking governance: Ruling, rationalities and resistance (pp. 1–22). London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Boll, K. (2016). Collaborative tax regulation: Can consumers be engaged as partners in the regulatory craft? Journal of Tax Administration, 2(2), 4–23.Google Scholar
- Callon, M. (1986). Some elements of a sociology of translation: Domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief: A new sociology of knowledge? (pp. 196–223). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Knoblauch, H. (2005). Focused ethnography. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-6.3.20.
- OECD. (2013). Together for better outcomes: Engaging and involving sme taxpayers and stakeholder. Forum on Tax Administration Compliance Sub-Group: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar