Are taxpayers, who pay their taxes, all cooperative citizens?

Article


Lemoine, J. and Roland-Levy, Christine 2013. Are taxpayers, who pay their taxes, all cooperative citizens? Citizenship Teaching & Learning. 8 (2), pp. 195-213.
AuthorsLemoine, J. and Roland-Levy, Christine
Abstract

France does not have a classical withholding tax system; taxes are calculated on the basis of the previous year declaration of income. Moreover, France is, in terms of corruption (Transparency index, Corruption Perceptions Index, 2011), in the 25th row, behind many of the European countries, which indicates a very high perception of corruption in France, compared to the other European countries. In this article, the focus is on the psychological effect of this system and its consequences in terms of tax compliance versus tax evasion, which can be seen in terms of cooperation versus competition. This study, in line with E. Kirchler’s research on tax evasion, investigates the links between powers of authorities, trust in authorities, and tax compliance in the French context. Moreover, along with Kirchler et al.’s (2008) work, our goal was to test the ‘slippery slope’ framework on tax compliance with a sample of French citizens. In order to test it, trust in authorities and power of authorities were manipulated with four different scenarios (high trust/high power; high trust/low power; low trust/high power; low trust/low power). French university students in economics (320) were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions, in which they read one of the scenarios and had to answer a questionnaire composed of 24 items. In this article, tax compliance is approached in terms of cooperation versus competition; for this, we examined: if citizens comply in a cooperative way; if they have a competitive attitude towards tax authorities, indicating that they try to evade taxes as much as possible, thus go against the collective goal because they have self-oriented motivations; or if they have a competitive attitude towards authorities because they do not consent government’s policies. This study, which had two main facets, enabled identifying tax compliance in terms of trust in authorities and power of authorities, and allowed identifying cases in which conformity is voluntary, which implies cooperation; or forced, which implies that authorities impose compliance. Based on our results, the article concludes that both an increase of trust in the authorities and an increase of power of the authorities create an increase of tax compliance, which tends to show that, based on distrust, fraud is non-cooperative, and can be sometimes considered as competitive, as it is placing self-interest into the foreground instead of public interest.

JournalCitizenship Teaching & Learning
Journal citation8 (2), pp. 195-213
ISSN1751-1917
Year2013
PublisherIntellect
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1386/ctl.8.2.195_1
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1386/ctl.8.2.195_1
Publication dates
Print01 May 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Dec 2018
Copyright information© 2013 Intellect
LicenseAll rights reserved
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