Katharina Gangl, Barbara Hartl, Eva Hofmann and Erich

The relationship between Austrian tax auditors and self-employed taxpayers: Evidence from a qualitative study.

Frontiers in Psychology

A constructive, highly professional relationship between tax authorities and taxpayers is essential for tax compliance. The aim of the present paper was to explore systematically the determinants of this relationship and related tax compliance behaviors based on the extended slippery slope framework. We used in-depth qualitative interviews with 33 self-employed taxpayers and 30 tax auditors. Interviewees described the relationship along the extended slippery slope framework concepts of power and trust. However, also novel sub-categories of power (e.g., setting deadlines) and trust (e.g., personal assistance) were mentioned. Furthermore, also little-studied categories of tax behavior emerged, such as accepting tax behavior, e.g., being available to the tax authorities, or stalling tax behavior, e.g., the intentional creation of complexity. The results comprehensively summarize the determinants of the tax relationship and tax compliance behaviors. Additionally, results highlight future research topics and provide insights for policy strategies.