Professional Misconduct in International Taxation

Rasmus Corlin Christensen, Leonard Seabrooke


This paper explores the space for professional misconduct in international taxation through the exploitation of unique expertise and legal distinctions. In a complex international tax environment, where multiple logics from overlapping social and legal systems meet, there is unique scope for misconduct by professional experts as adjudged by social control agents, such as the state, professional bodies or popular media. These are not trivial judgments. The implications of perceived misconduct are potentially significant – fostering new regulations and enforcement actions, changing social norms, and damaging trust in the profession. Given this, there is a need to systematise our understanding of misconduct in international taxation, including its evaluation and social settings. We emphasise the particular ambiguities that characterise international taxation and discuss how tax professionals may strategically and, as a matter of everyday practice, come to be perceived as engaging in misconduct. We argue that it is helpful to understand misconduct through the analysis of key professional boundaries and we provide case vignettes of important contemporary judgments of professional misconduct in international tax systems.

Keywords: Professionals, Misconduct, Boundaries, International Taxation.

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