Don’t worry, we are not after you! Anancy culture and tax enforcement in Jamaica

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Tax administrators are agents engaged and empowered by the state, charged with upholding public governance in the public interest. They are specifically entrusted with enforcement powers to ensure that citizens are accountable to the state for compliance with tax laws and regulations. Yet in some instances, these state agents fail to do this. This paper examines tax administrators’ practices with regard to two categories of non-land-owning Jamaican citizens, renters and squatters. We find evidence of the influence of culture in the enactment of enforcement practices. Rather than regulating in order to bring about accountability, tax practice may be used to resist the established order. We conclude that Anancy culture mediates practices, in this case taxation, resulting in selective enforcement. Indeed, Anancy culture pervades the social fabric of the nation, shapes the practices of tax administrators, and profoundly influences struggles in the property tax field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-69
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Early online date3 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • Anancy culture
  • Jamaica property tax
  • Selective tax enforcement
  • Tax administration practices


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