In my last post I referred to Jacob Rowbottom’s three goals of naming and shaming, the first of which is ‘to punish informally a named individual’. In that particular post I briefly discussed how “Catfish the Tv Show” is evidence of online naming and shaming being an act of vigilantism, and sought as a informal punishment for an ‘offending’ party.
This article by Gail Perry in the Journal Accounting Today talks about how tax agencies have begun utilizing the internet to name and shame people who have neglected paying their tax. The article highlights that publicizing the names of people who have not paid property tax has been practiced for years, and in fact those records are public. Naming and shaming in regards to income tax is, however, a new tactic. This article provides evidence different to that of my ‘Catfish the Tv Show’ post as it writes “In some states, the state legislature has added statutes authorizing the publication of names of income tax delinquents.” From this we could argue that online naming and shaming can be classed as formal punishment. I believe this argument is further supported by it being a government organization that is adopting the practice as policy for punishment. To be clear I am not suggesting that this is the only punishment ‘tax delinquents’ receive but it is becoming a commonplace formal punishment, at least in regards to tax.