Friday, July 15, 2016

Upcoming "Human Rights and Tax" conference at NYU Law School

On September 22-23, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice will be holding a conference at NYU Law School called "Human Rights and Tax in an Unequal World."  They issued a call for papers here, although the deadline has passed and various people were invited upfront, so the organizers could structure panels on particular topics.  Afterwards they will publish a conference volume containing papers from the sessions.

The conference offers the possibility of creating interesting synergies from bringing distinct groups together.  Tax people and human rights people generally are not in dialogue with each other.  Even where members of both groups are concerned about the same issues - for example high-end inequality - it's fair to say that they come at it from very different angles.  In tax practice, "human rights" sometimes refers (rather inaptly, I would say) to efforts by EU tax counsel to resist, on behalf of corporate clients, document discovery that is sought by the tax authorities.

I talked with the organizers at the planning stage, and will be writing a short paper and giving a talk about it at Session Four, meeting on Friday, 9/23, from 10:30 to 11:45 AM.  The session's title is "Private Actors and the Public Purse: The Roles of Corporations, Lawyers, and Accountants in Tax Abuse."  My paper doesn't have a title yet, but I've written the abstract (which I may post after I've had a chance to mull it over a bit more) and am starting to map out the piece, at least in my mind.

I'm going to look at a bunch of issues as to which there are really two sides, reflecting complexities that relate, for example, to the relevance of legal uncertainty (and the audit lottery), and to how one should think about the underlying ethical issues, both from a tax professional's standpoint and that of an individual planning his or her professional life.

With the idea of trying something a bit different (and I hope fun and interesting), I am thinking of writing the paper in the form of a dialogue between two thoughtful individuals who take conflicting views (although with overlap, since both are reasonable) of the main points of contention that I will be addressing.

1 comment:

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