Tax authorities’ interaction with taxpayers: A conception of compliance by power and trust.

Katharina Gangl, Eva Hofmann, Erich Kirchler

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    100 Citations (Scopus)
    121 Downloads (Pure)


    Tax compliance represents a social dilemma in which the short-term self-interest to minimize tax payments is at odds with the collective long-term interest to provide sufficient tax funds for public goods. According to the Slippery Slope Framework, the social dilemma can be solved and tax compliance can be guaranteed by power of tax authorities and trust in tax authorities. The framework, however, remains silent on the dynamics between power and trust. The aim of the present theoretical paper is to conceptualize the dynamics between power and trust by differentiating coercive and legitimate power and reason-based and implicit trust. Insights into this dynamic are derived from an integration of a wide range of literature such as on organizational behavior and social influence. Conclusions on the effect of the dynamics between power and trust on the interaction climate between authorities and individuals and subsequent individual motivation of cooperation in social dilemmas such as tax contributions are drawn. Practically, the assumptions on the dynamics can be utilized by authorities to increase cooperation and to change the interaction climate from an antagonistic climate to a service and confidence climate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)13-23
    Number of pages11
    JournalNew Ideas of Psychology
    Early online date9 Jan 2015
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


    • Coercive power
    • Legitimate power
    • Reason-based trust
    • Implicit trust
    • Tax compliance
    • Cooperation


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