Tax compliance and the psychology of justice: mapping the field
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According to this popularised aphorism, taxes are ubiquitous, as they affect practically everybody, and surely they are as little in our personal interest as death. Yet, while the everyday use of the expression does not occur without a wink, science seems to have missed the humour in it. It is certainly true that taxation deserves the closest scientific attention, as hardly any other legislation has such a widespread impact on our lives, from 'impacting personal decisions to shaping economic phenomena, political forces and the institutional fabric of our society'. Furthermore, the failure to comply with tax laws costs states billions of dollars each year, thus impacting severely on their provision of government services and their socio-economic functioning. However, the dominant theoretical paradigm that understands tax compliance in terms of individual self-interest, that is, as an individual's rational choice aimed at maximising individual outcomes under conditions of uncertainty, misses important dimensions of the phenomenon.