The Effect of Interactional Fairness and Detection on Taxpayers’ Compliance Intentions

Journal of Business Ethics 154 (1):167-180 (2019)
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Abstract

Although the role of fairness in tax compliance has been of increasing interest among the academic and professional tax communities, very little is known about the role of interactional fairness. Interactional fairness refers to the quality of the treatment provided to individuals from authority figures, such as tax authority representatives. We conduct an experiment using US taxpayers to examine the role of interactional fairness on tax compliance intentions, and how detection influences this relation. Taxpayers’ detection salience reflects their perceptions that they will be audited by the tax authority. Using insights from conditional cooperation theory, we predict and find that detection moderates the relation between interactional fairness and tax compliance intentions, such that the effect of interactional fairness on tax compliance intentions diminishes with higher detection. We discuss the implications of our results for tax policy.

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