ABSTRACT

We experimentally investigate how tax authority responsibility for preventing identity theft and tax authority responsiveness following identity theft influence taxpayers' trust in the tax authority and subsequent tax compliance intentions. We find evidence that trust mediates the positive relation between tax authority responsiveness and compliance, but that this mediation effect is conditional upon levels of tax authority responsibility for the identity theft. Specifically, when taxpayers perceive that the tax authority is to blame for the identity theft, higher responsiveness by the tax authority does not significantly influence compliance through trust. However, when the tax authority is not to blame for identity theft, higher responsiveness by the tax authority significantly influences compliance through trust. These findings suggest that when the tax authority is to blame for identity theft, there may be little it can do to increase taxpayers' trust and subsequent compliance.

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