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The future international tax environment and European tax harmonization: a personal view

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  • Simon James

Abstract

The shape of the international tax system is being influenced by a number of important factors. This paper uses the basic management technique of STEP analysis to explore the changes that are under way and presents some of the social, technological, economic and political factors involved. It soon becomes clear that important trends include the increasing complexity of socio-economic systems which is likely to increase the complexity of the tax systems that have to accommodate them. Nevertheless the most dramatic changes will be associated with fundamental technological developments including the Internet and the World Wide Web. The development of international electronic commerce presents a considerable challenge to existing tax systems and there are accounting implications. For example, certain economic events may no longer continue to have easily identifiable physical locations. Such changes will substantially increase the need for governments to co-operate and to co-ordinate their tax systems. One way forward might be greater European tax harmonization. So far progress has been slow and uncertain but a clarification of the meaning of harmonization and the extent to which Member States wish to achieve it might make the path easier. The economic contribution with respect to fiscal federalism and the concept of subsidiarity would be able to assist in this process.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon James, 1999. "The future international tax environment and European tax harmonization: a personal view," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 731-747.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:8:y:1999:i:4:p:731-747
    DOI: 10.1080/096381899335781
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Margaret Lamb & Andrew Lymer, 1999. "Taxation research in an accounting context: future prospects and interdisciplinary perspectives," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 749-776.
    2. James, Simon, 2012. "The contribution of behavioral economics to tax reform in the United Kingdom," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 468-475.
    3. James, Simon, 2007. "Tax Simplification is not a simple issue: the reasons for difficulty and a possible strategy," MPRA Paper 19281, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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