Edited by Yariv Brauner and Miranda Stewart
Chapter 6: Is this a pipe? Validity of a tax reform for a developing country
René Magritte’s painting illustrating a pipe and entitled ‘this is not a pipe’ highlights the difference between the object and its representation. A tax reform in a developing country where plural legalities coexist (the object, Magritte’s pipe or pipes) will induce the tax legislator to represent a unitary solution that is to be enforced by officials who may initially identify themselves with diverse legalities. The challenge for the drafter of the tax reform will be to identify the legalities in force, to grant validity to some of them, and to represent the result in a unitary tax law that will be accepted as valid by tax officials and taxpayers. The result will then be another pipe with selected elements of the underlying pipes. Assume that the technical assistance of an external legal drafter is requested to draft and discuss with local officials, parliamentary members and publicly with other players and taxpayers, a whole or partial tax reform in a developing country. The external legal drafter is expected to play the Hercules legislator in a society in transition and rich in plural legalities. Assume further that she is an expert contracted by an inter- national organization, and in her skin as Hercules legislator she will have an excellent knowledge of the topic, both from a theoretical and a practical perspective. Our external legal drafter is an academic, and therefore has a good acquaintance with the legal system and existing tax law that is to be reformed, with the family of law to which it belongs
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