June 18, 2015

Wittgenstein and Tax Law

Bret N. Bogenschneider, Vienna University of Economics and Business, has published Wittgenstein on Why Tax Law is Comprehensible in volume 252 of the British Tax Review. Here is the abstract.
The field of taxation now includes a growing body of technical language. Such tax words are not merely “labels” for various economic events (as implied by the theory of semantic formalism) as tax terminology must be contextualised consistently with Wittgenstein’s later theory of linguistics. The current debate over GAARs may constitute an example of Wittgenstein’s “signposts” which mitigate in favour of the Rule of Law and not against it. Furthermore, the proffered choice as between principles versus detail in tax legislation reflects a false dichotomy. The common averment to scepticism (or nihilism) within tax jurisprudence indicates a failure to understand the logical basis or modalities and scientific nature of tax law. The technical language of taxation is indicative of an emerging scientific discipline.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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