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Misalignment of Substantive and Enforcement Tax Jurisdiction in a Mobile Economy: Causes and Strategies for Realignment


  • Swain, John A.


When a state asserts substantive jurisdiction over the subject matter of a tax, the state generally should also have enforcement jurisdiction over a person who can remit the tax. In the American subnational system, transaction costs, tax assignments, and legal barriers are the major causes of misalignment between substantive and enforcement jurisdiction. Strategies for achieving greater jurisdictional alignment include (1) reducing administrative and compliance cost through reform vehicles such as the Streamlined Sales Tax, (2) adopting simplified compliance regimes for foreign taxpayers, (3) repealing the physical-presence test and P.L. 86-272, and (4) “reverse engineering” substantive jurisdiction rules in recognition of existing limits on enforcement capabilities.

Suggested Citation

  • Swain, John A., 2010. "Misalignment of Substantive and Enforcement Tax Jurisdiction in a Mobile Economy: Causes and Strategies for Realignment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 63(4), pages 925-944, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:63:y:2010:i:4:p:925-44

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