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Edited by Henrik Enderlein, Sonja Wälti and Michael Zürn
Chapter 29: International Taxation and Multi-level Governance
Thomas Rixen International taxation may seem an unlikely topic for a handbook on multi-level governance (MLG): while the powers to tax and spend are often spread over multiple levels of government (see Geys and Konrad, Chapter 2 and Hallerberg, Chapter 7 in this volume), the national level is generally seen as the highest relevant level. The general perception is that taxation is purely a national affair and that there is no pertinent international level as regards taxes. I argue that this view is both right and wrong. For one, decisions on the design of national tax systems are indeed only taken at the national level. There are no revenue raising powers at the global level, nor is there a ‘constitutionalized’ assignment of other tax-related competencies to an international level. Thus, the power structure is decentralized and concurrent. On the other hand, it is warranted to speak of MLG in international taxation, because there is a longstanding tradition of international tax cooperation, which has become firmly institutionalized over time and has gained some degree of autonomy and influence over national tax policies.1 I argue that the governance structure of international taxation qualifies as MLG in the sense of MLG II (see the Introduction and Hooghe and Marks, Chapter 1 in this volume). International tax governance consists of a complex patchwork of functional jurisdictions interacting with one another. Significant governance services are performed by a transgovernmental network of tax experts, to which business actors also have access. This network operates in a...
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