Abstract Fairness and Trust in tax compliance

Trust in authorities as a boundary condition to procedural fairness
effects on tax compliance
Marius van Dijke & Peter Verboon
Open University, The Netherlands
Email: [email protected]
Published in Journal of Economic Psychology, 31, 80-91 (2010)
We explored the moderating role of trust in authorities in the positive effect of procedural
fairness of the tax office on voluntary compliance with tax authorities. Building on fairness
heuristic theory, we predicted that particularly low trust in authorities makes people carefully
attend to the fairness with which the tax office enacts procedures. This should result
in positive procedural fairness effects on endorsement of norms prescribing taxpaying and,
consequently, in voluntary tax compliance, particularly among citizens with low trust in
authorities. Results from an experiment and a field study revealed converging support
for these predictions. We conclude that high trust in authorities forms an important
boundary condition to the effectiveness of procedural fairness as a tool to enhance tax
Key words
Tax compliance
Procedural fairness
Trust in authorities