In the public debate on taxation, fairness has become a prominent issue over the past few years. In the 1950s legal philosophers have developed a definition of the principle of fairness which focuses on the relationships between tax payers and the expectations they have of each other. It is this concept of fairness which seems to be dominant in the current public debate on fairness: it is not so much the tax system itself which is debated, but the use some tax payers make of the tax system resulting in other tax payers having to pay more. This leads to the question how the government can protect compliant tax payers and thus ensure more fairness. The answer seems to be combating free riders and free riding. However, in a globalized world this asks for action on a global scale. I will relate this to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project of the OECD.

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Tax Law

Hemels, S.J.C. (2016). Fairness and taxation in a globalized world. In Fair share of tax burdens of highly digitalised transactions. Report of the Joint Seminar 2015 in Tokyo. Retrieved from