Not Paying Taxes: Tax Evasion, Tax Avoidance and Tax Resistance in Historical Perspective

Not Paying Taxes: Tax Evasion, Tax Avoidance and Tax Resistance in Historical Perspective

Korinna Schönhärl, Gisela Hürlimann, Dorothea Rohde
Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Campus Westend, IG Farben-Haus, Eisenhower-Saal IG 1.314
Frankfurt am Main
Vom - Bis
26.03.2020 - 27.03.2020
Dorothea Rohde

States have always relied on their subjects’ or citizens’ mandatory contributions to cover the costs of public expenditures. Besides warlike occupation and exploitation, such duties, fees or taxes were often regulated by law, similar forms of binding norms and rules, or social pressure.
At the same time, tacit refusal or open resistance to paying public charges can be observed in different periods of history, types of societies, political formations and places, sometimes even leading to revolutionary transformation. The aim of our cross-epochal and interdisciplinary workshop is not, however, a history of revolutions starting from tax revolts. Rather, we want to examine the different practices and forms of withholding and avoiding personal and financial duties, fees and taxes over time and among different social, professional and other groups. This includes, on the one hand, open and organized tax resistance on moral, economic and political grounds, challenging the existing legal or political order and claiming more or a different form of tax justice and redistribution, or a modification of how taxes are collected. In these cases, personal or financial duties were often seen as a form of humiliation and a marker of subordinated status. On the other hand, taxes and duties were often not resisted publically but rather avoided or evaded in secret. These terms refer to notions that distinguish between legal practices of lowering the intended burden and thus saving taxes or fees, and maneuvers that were classified as illegal or criminal. Such categorizations, though, depend on changing moral and legal perceptions and/or on class-related negotiating power.


Thursday, 26.3.2020, IG 1.314

13.00–13.15: Introduction (Korinna Schönhärl)

13.15–15.45: Strategies for Evading and Avoiding Taxes

Lucia Cecchet (Mainz University): The rhetorics of tax evasion in Attic oratory and some modern counterparts

Yaruipam Muivah (EHESS-PSL Université Paris): Tax avoidance by the hill people in the North-East Frontier of India in the early colonial period, 1875-1913

Yener Koç (Boğaziçi University Istanbul): Taxing the Tribes: The Resistance and Adaptation of the Tribes of the Ottoman East to the Tax Policies (1850-1900)

Comment: Christopher Kopper, Bielefeld University
Chair: Gisela Hürlimann, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT

15.45–16.15: Coffee Break

16.15–18.15: Saving the Rich and Multinationals from Taxation

Anna Grotegut (Bielefeld University): Vote against the Radical-Socialist Government so long as it advances unfair land taxes and valuations. The “Land Unions” fight against the taxes imposed on land in Britain

Peter Scott (Henley Business School, University of Reading): Saving the rich from soaking: the British elite, “tax-dodging”, and the genesis of the tax avoidance industry in inter-war Britain

Boris Gehlen / Christian Marx (Leibniz Institute for Contemporary History, Munich): “I am a professional tax evader”. Multinationals, business groups, and tax havens, 1960s to 1980s

Mikael Wendschlag (Uppsala University)/ Thibaud Giddey (University of Lausanne): Colliding tax cultures: tax avoidance as economic crime in 1970s Sweden and Switzerland

Comment: Christine Osterloh-Konrad (University of Tübingen)
Chair: Korinna Schönhärl (Goethe University Frankfurt)

18.15-18.30: Break

18.30–20.00: Panel discussion (IG 311): Tax Compliance as a business, democratic and international challenge (in German)

Nadia Altenburger (advocate, Flick Gocke Schaumburg)
Uwe Eppler (advocate, Norton Rose Fulbright)
Christine Osterloh-Konrad (professor of law, University of Tübingen)
Korinna Schönhärl (historian, Goethe University Frankfurt)

Moderation: René Höltschi, economic correspondent for NZZ in Berlin

20.00–21.30: Buffet

Friday, 27.03.2020, IG 1.314

8.30–10.30: Resisting and Opposing Taxes

Kerstin Droß-Krüpe (University of Kassel): (Not) paying taxes in Roman and Byzantine Egypt

Vasilis G. Manousakis (University of Crete, Rethymno): Taxes, tax avoidance and the black economy in Occupied Greece, 1941-1944

Daniel Olisa Iweze (University of Benin, Benin City): Women’s Protests Against Colonial Taxation in the Eastern Region of Nigeria

Comment: Wolfgang Franzen (FORES Cologne)
Chair: Wolfgang Brandes (Goethe-University Frankfurt)

10.30–11.00: Coffee Break

11.00–13.00: Avoiding Tax Avoidance

Christina Bröker (University of Regensburg): The Struggle for money? Defending taxes in 13th century England

Korinna Schönhärl (Goethe-University Frankfurt): Tax morales: How norms on paying taxes in West Germany developed after WWII

Aniko Fehr / Sylvain Praz (University of Lausanne): An “exceptional” tax amnesty: a usual Swiss way to fight the fraud in the 20th century

Comment: Philipp Lamprecht (Goethe-University Frankfurt)
Chair: Eberhard Schnebel (Goethe-University / Commerz Bank)

13.00–14.00: Lunch

14.00–16.00: Negotiating Low or Non-Taxation

Rodrigo Gordoa de la Huerta (Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis Mora, Mexico City): Resistance, Negotiation and Judicial Controversy: Alternatives to Fiscal Evasion in the Sale Tax Administration in Early Bourbon New Spain (1723-1754)

Benjamin Müsegades (Heidelberg University): Negotiating and evading taxation. Communes and lords in late medieval southwest Germany

Rachel Renault (Le Mans University):Tax avoidance and tax resistance in 17th and 18th century Germany : imperial taxation and local agency (Saxony and Thuringia)

Comment: Eberhard Isenmann (University of Cologne)
Chair: Dorothea Rohde (Bielefeld University)

16.00–16.30: Summary
Korinna Schönhärl / Gisela Hürlimann / Dorothea Rohde


Korinna Schönhärl

Goethe Universität Frankfurt
Historisches Seminar, Lehrstuhl für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte
Veröffentlicht am
Weitere Informationen
Land Veranstaltung
Sprach(en) der Veranstaltung
Sprache der Ankündigung