Tax Avoidance

This Article attempts an almost purely negative criticism. I contend that efforts to explain the results of tax cases not involving penalties by reference to “tax avoidance” are never satisfactory, whether the reference is meant to describe a taxpayer’s state of mind or to justify a tax rule by invoking some “need to prevent tax avoidance.” Because many tax problems are commonly discussed in terms of “tax avoidance” in one of these senses, and in order to avoid the impression that my arguments would leave the tax law in shambles, I shall suggest some alternative ways of dealing with these problems. But the positive aspects of the argument are intended only to illustrate that alternatives to “tax-avoidance” thinking are available, not to catalogue all of these alternatives, for that task would be unending.