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Influence of tax dodging on tax justice in developing countries: some theory and evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Olatunde Julius Otusanya (Department of Accounting, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria)
Jia Liu (Business School, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Sarah George Lauwo (Sheffield University Management School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 10 March 2022

207

Abstract

Purpose

The mobilising domestic resources, in particular, taxation, is key to unlocking the resources required for public investment in infrastructure, growth and sustainable finance. This study aims to share the perception that the tax arrangements of states and the transnational corporations (TNCs) of developed states have a critical effect on the development prospects of the less powerful states in developing countries.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper locates the role of TNCs tax practice within the broader dynamics of globalisation and the pursuit of profits, to argue that the drive of TNCs for higher profits can enrich our understanding of why some TNCs engage in tax dodging. This paper used publicly available evidence to shed light on the role played by TNCs in tax dodging practices in developing countries.

Findings

The evidence shows that tax havens and offshore financial centres, shaped by globalisation, are major structures facilitating the sophisticated tax schemes of highly mobile TNCs. This paper further shows that the corrosive effect of low-tax jurisdictions (“tax havens”) continues to represent a major obstacle to a regulation of global economic relations, which is required for maintaining sustainable social and economic development of poorer states.

Research limitations/implications

This paper used publicly available evidence to illuminate the role played by TNCs in tax dodging practices in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Practical implications

This paper, therefore, advocates a radical reform that could minimise the attendant problems created by the activities of TNCs and the enabling structures that facilitate these practices.

Social implications

Tax dodging has played a major role in causing serious damage to the economic and social landscape in developing countries. This in turn, has undermined social welfare and also investment in the public services, thereby eroding the quality of life and producing a decline in average life expectancy.

Originality/value

This paper is a general review of literature and evidence on contemporary developmental issues.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the constructive comments of reviewers and participants at the British Accounting and Finance Association, Annual Conference of the Northern Area Group (BAFA-NAG) held in September 2017 at the Bangor Business School, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd, UK and 11th International Critical Management Studies Conference, held in 2019 at the Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, UK. The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers, the Editor of JFC, Barry A. K. Rider and Angela Futter for their invaluable and illuminating comments and suggestions.

Citation

Otusanya, O.J., Liu, J. and Lauwo, S.G. (2022), "Influence of tax dodging on tax justice in developing countries: some theory and evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFC-01-2022-0012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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