Simply put, this article stands the traditional concept of tax equity on its head. Challenging the notion that tax equity is an unequivocal good, this article deconstructs the concept of tax equity to reveal the subtle, yet pernicious ways in which it shapes tax policy debates and impinges upon contributions to those debates. The article describes how tax equity, with its narrow focus on “income” as the sole relevant metric for judging tax fairness, presupposes a population that is homogeneous along all other lines. Through this insidious homogenization, tax equity performs both a sanitizing and a screening function in the tax policy debate: In effect, tax equity forecloses consideration of non-economic forms of difference (e.g., of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or physical ability) when determining the appropriate allocation of tax â€“â€“ and, by extension, societal â€“â€“ burdens. Paradoxically, with its ostensible concern for fairness, tax equity is often the most logical avenue for introducing critical concerns into tax policy debates; yet, tax equity has been defined in such a way as to bar entry to precisely these types of concerns. It should come as no surprise, then, that mainstream tax scholars tend to be so resistant -â€“ and, at times, openly hostile -â€“ to critical contributions to tax policy debates.
Professor Infanti is a creative scholar and one of the leading thinkers in critical tax theory. For anyone who who has ever wondered about the relationship between taxation and social justice, this article nails it.
The full article is available here.