Over the past few decades, several factors have contributed to what numerous revenue agencies and academic authors have characterized as a significant increase in tax avoidance activity. This paper considers both the causes of increased tax avoidance activity over the past several years as well as governmental responses to this phenomenon in key common law jurisdictions, notably Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Part 2 examines the concept of tax avoidance, distinguishing unacceptable or abusive tax avoidance both from illegal tax evasion on the one hand and acceptable tax planning or tax minimization on the other. Part 3 considers the causes of recent tax avoidance activity and its adverse effects for domestic tax systems. Part 4 reviews government responses to tax avoidance, examining both legislative reforms and administrative innovations. Part 5 considers whether these legislative and administrative measures are sufficient to the address the problem of tax avoidance in the 21st century, concluding that, although they can be expected to discourage some abusive tax avoidance, there is also much that remains to be done.
David G Duff, "Tax Avoidance in the 21st Century" in Australian Business Tax Reform in Retrospect and Prospect in Chris Evans & Rick Krever eds, (Thomson: Sydney, 2009) 477.