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Collaboration Theory and Corporate Tax Avoidance


Eric C. Chaffee


May 24, 2019

By understanding the corporation as a collaboration between the government and the individuals organizing, operating, and owning the corporation, the impermissibility of aggressive corporate tax avoidance becomes apparent.The history of the debate over the essential nature of the corporation is substantial. This debate has been reinvigorated by the Supreme Court’s recent opinions, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which explore the scope of corporate rights. This article examines how essentialist theories of the corporation should inform the permissibility of corporate tax avoidance and argues that aggressive corporate tax avoidance is legally impermissible based upon the essential nature of the corporate form.


Eric C. Chaffee, Collaboration Theory and Corporate Tax Avoidance, 76 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 93 (2019).