Field-Level Legitimization of Corporate Tax Minimization

Research Cluster

Speaker:Mattia Anesa , University of Queensland Business School
Date: Thursday 9 June 2016
Time: 16:00
Location: Bateman Lecture Theatre, Building One

Further details

ABSTRACT Since the Global Financial Crisis, corporate tax minimization strategies have been under increasing public scrutiny. While the legitimacy of ‘aggressive’ practices has been challenged, ‘day to-day’ tax minimization remains unquestioned and manifests in corporate tax strategies. To appreciate how the institutionalized practice of tax minimization is maintained despite threats to its legitimacy, we need to examine how dynamics and power relationships at field-level influence the enactment of corporate tax strategies. Hence, this study adopts a Bourdieusian perspective to analyse 78 semi-structured interviews conducted with relevant actors of the Australian corporate tax field. Our findings suggest that the interdependence between dominant doxic beliefs, power structure of the field, actors’ capitals and their habitus explain why the legitimacy of firmly institutionalized practices such as tax minimization is unlikely to be destabilized. Despite the presence of heavy critiques such field-level factors do not allow for a radical change of tax practices as called for by their opponents. In fact, even the most critical voices involved in our fieldwork, considered the employment of minimization as the only practicable strategy for business to thrive.