Mapping Tax Compliance: Assemblages, Distributed Action and Practices: A New Way of Doing Tax Research

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Tax compliance denotes the act of reporting and paying taxes in accordance with the tax laws. Current social science scholarship on tax compliance can almost entirely be divided into behavioural psychology analyses and critical tax studies. This article, which presents two cases of how tax compliance is constructed, challenges the explanatory reaches of today's social science approaches, arguing that an alternative approach to understanding tax compliance is worthwhile exploring. This other choice of approach, inspired by actor–network theory (ANT), adopts a more practice-oriented focus that studies tax compliance where it takes place as well as what it is made of. Consequently, this article argues that tax compliance is a socio-material assemblage and that complying is a distributed action. The article concludes by highlighting how an ANT approach contributes to the further theoretical development of social science studies of taxation.
TidsskriftCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Udgave nummer4-5
Sider (fra-til)293-303
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2014


  • Accountability
  • Public sector
  • Tax compliance
  • Actor–network theory