<p>The need to raise taxes is central to the organisation of any civilised state. It is something of a paradox that to do so requires the forcible extraction of cash from individual citizens - an action which breaches another attribute of a free society: the protection of private property. This article examines the practical and legal problems raised by this tension between the need to prevent loss of tax revenues through avoidance and the rights of the private citizen not to have his property taken from him arbitrarily. </p>