Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Accountancy



First Advisor

Morris Stocks

Second Advisor

Mark Van Boening

Third Advisor

Kendall Bowlin

Relational Format



In a voluntary tax system, taxpayers have an opportunity to avoid or evade paying taxes. The reasons for and the causes of noncompliance are expansive. One way to increase revenue to the government without increasing taxes is to focus on deterring tax evasion and tax underreporting. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects on tax compliance of the taxpayer’s ethical orientation and perceived financial risk, as well as the role of the tax preparer in the compliance decision. This research adds to the current tax compliance literature by investigating (in an experimental setting) the role of the tax preparer in situations where income is not reported to a third party and the tax law is clear, yet noncompliance still occurs. Additionally, this study improves upon previous studies by incorporating an income-earning task, rather than participants receiving an endowment or being given a hypothetical tax scenario. By having participants earn income, the study provides participants with the same sense of income ownership that real-world taxpayers would typically experience. Finally, this study improves upon current studies measuring risk by incorporating a domain specific risk perception measurement scale. For an individual, perceived risk may vary across different risk domains. Therefore, it is beneficial to use a financial risk perception measure, rather than a general measure of risk that includes nonfinancial items. I find a significant main effect regarding the enforcement message of the tax preparer. Individuals receiving a high enforcement message are significantly more compliant than individuals receiving a low enforcement message. Additionally, I find a significant interaction between taxpayer financial risk perception and ethical orientation, implying that the impact of ethical orientation on tax compliance depends on the level of the individual’s financial risk perception. Specifically, when financial risk perception is low, tax compliance does not differ based on the level of an individual’s ethical reasoning. However, when an individual perceives financial risk to be high, individuals with low ethical reasoning are significantly less compliant than individuals with high ethical reasoning. With regard to absolute compliance, the study demonstrates a significant positive relationship between 100% compliance and high ethical reasoning. Policymakers and regulators may be able to use this information in developing more effective means to increase individual tax compliance.

Included in

Accounting Commons



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