Osita Mba is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Tax Administration Research Centre. He is a lawyer, and practised law as a barrister and solicitor in Nigeria and as a solicitor in England and Wales. He was a lawyer for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) from 2007 to 2013. He is also a Chartered Tax Adviser and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT).
Osita’s current research is primarily on the meaning of, and the antidote to, tax avoidance and tax evasion in law, to which he brings his wealth of professional experience and expertise in domestic and international laws. His doctoral research, entitled ‘Cheating the Public Revenue: The Nature and Meaning of Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion in English Law’, establishes for the first time the meaning of tax avoidance and tax evasion in law using a Common Law principle common to all jurisdictions. It debunks the orthodoxy that “tax evasion is illegal but tax avoidance is legal”, which is accepted as an article of faith in domestic and international taxation, and demonstrates that both tax avoidance and tax evasion amount to the Common Law offence of cheating the public revenue, which corresponds to tax fraud in all jurisdictions. His main postdoctoral research, entitled ‘Cheating the Wealth of Nations: The Meaning of International Tax Avoidance and Evasion and the Responsibility of the State Enablers in International Law’, applies the same innovative approach to international tax avoidance and evasion, which are distinguished by their reliance on the laws and institutions of foreign states, by expounding them in the context of the international law doctrine of state responsibility under which a state is responsible for any violation of international law by institutions and persons acting under its direction or control and must make full reparation for any injury caused any other state. The research seeks to demonstrate that offshore tax evasion by wealthy individuals and transnational tax avoidance by multinational companies amount to international tax frauds in international law and that states that enable them in the guise of ‘tax competition’ breach their obligations under international law and must make reparation to the states cheated.