n. The gray area of ambiguous acts that fall between legal avoidance and illegal evasion of the law's proscriptions.
Inheritance tax does not leave the rich dazzled in the headlights of their own mortality. They take evading action. Inheritance tax actually makes the rich richer. It also leaves lawyers and accountants and insurance brokers refreshed as they tender their advice. That great economist Arthur Seldon invented the new word "avoision." It is the fine line between "avoiding" taxes, which is legal, and evading taxes, which is unlawful. The inheritance tax has created a whole avoision industry.
The book is in three parts, divided into tiny chapterlets, forty-two in all. The first part takes up what Katz calls "avoision": a fusion of "avoidance" and "evasion" that denotes cases in which it is unclear whether a person's conduct should be considered lawful avoidance of the law's prohibitions or illegal evasion. Two actresses are vying for the same part. Mildred knows that Abigail has been unfaithful to her husband. If she threatens to tell the husband unless Abigail forgoes the audition, that would be blackmail, and a crime. Instead she tells Abigail that she is mailing a letter addressed to the husband that reveals Abigail's infidelity and that has been timed to arrive the morning of the audition. Knowing that Abigail will stay home to intercept the letter, Mildred will have achieved the same end as she would have done by committing blackmail, yet her conduct is not criminal.
The Subterranean Economy (McGraw-Hill, 1982, $19.95, 187 pages) by Dan Bawly examines the whys, wheres and hows of today's practice of tax "avoision," a term aptly describing the intertwining of lawful tax avoidance and unlawful tax evasion.
Avoision sounds like the way certain New Yorkers would say the word aversion, but it's actually a blend of the words avoidance and evasion. It's most often used with respect to taxes, where it represents financial acts in which it's not clear whether they're legal tax avoidance or illegal tax evasion. Example citation #2 demonstrates the more general sense of the term. Note, too, that the earliest citation is from 1982, but I also uncovered a booklet called "Tax Avoision" that was published by The Institute of Economic Affairs in 1979.